I have been struggling with how to give to others on a limited income. It saddens me that the amount and frequency of my giving have declined with a shrinking income. Maybe you feel the same.
I shared my frustrations about giving on a limited income with some close friends. We had a great conversation that addressed our motivation for giving to others. We discussed some practical suggestions on person-to-person giving. We explored the benefits of giving to charitable organizations.
Here are some of the insights and suggestions from that discussion.
Why do we want to give to others?
There are a variety of good reasons why we give to others. We give because we recognize a need, and we want to help. We give because others helped us in a time of need. We give because someone or some organization is worth supporting. We give because it makes us feel better about ourselves. We give because we have available resources beyond our obligations. We give because we want to make a difference in someone else’s life.
How to give to others: Person to Person Giving.
Not all giving is financial. Sometimes we do not have an extra dollar to spare. But there are other ways we can make a difference. We can give blood to the Red Cross. We can donate well-maintained clothing and non-perishable goods. We can give our time by mentoring, listening, and encouraging others. We can volunteer to run errands for the elderly or serve as drivers at the local meals on wheels in our community. We can use our availability, talents, and skills to provide services for free.
Small gifts can make a big difference to the individual receiving them. It is not just the size of the gift but the thought behind it. Sometimes a thoughtful gesture, a kind word, or even a cup of coffee can make a difference in someone’s life.
Anonymous giving to an individual is powerful. Giving anonymously has several benefits. It removes the risk of creating an unhealthy dependency between the giver and the receiver. It acknowledges a person’s inherent dignity by meeting the need privately. It encourages hope. Did I mention that this is fun? There are times when the need is larger than we can address. That is when charitable organizations can help.
How to give to others – giving to an organization
Volunteers often staff nonprofit organizations. You can answer a phone, receive contributions, unload a truck, or deliver goods to those in need. You may have a skill set that an organization needs.
It takes large and small monetary gifts to fund a nonprofit organization. There is a cumulative power when small gifts are gathered together. Our smaller gifts, combined with others, can make a substantial difference when given to an efficient, well-managed organization.
Call to action
Inventory the ways you already make a difference in the lives of others. If you are stumped, ask others to help you identify your contributions.
Consider additional ways you can make a difference this week without using money.
If you have the means, consider giving locally, nationally, or globally. Many nonprofits and churches are reliant on year-end giving to make their budgets.
Here are a few of my favorite nonprofits that accept volunteers and contributions. I have no affiliations with any of the nonprofits listed below. My endorsement of them does not imply in any way their endorsement of me or my blog.