Dec. 20, 2021

20. Where to start with donating


Today’s letter is about where to start with donating. Here’s the letter:

What to do if I feel overwhelmed by donating?

It’s natural to feel overwhelmed, I don’t think most of us learned anything about donating as kids, except for maybe some kids grow up with the practice of giving to their religious institutions. And even then, I think what kids tend to learn is more about the practice and benefits of giving, not as much about how to make decisions related to giving.

So here are some tips. 

1. Pick a percentage goal. Check out episode 2 for some thoughts on this. In addition to the ideas in that episode, you might find it to be an interesting benchmark that the USA gives 0.75% in foreign aid, you could start at 1% if you're brand new to giving. Please don't get caught up on whether you’re giving 1% of your gross income versus net income after tax. Let’s keep it simple, start with 1% of your take home pay, after taxes. The reason I’m suggesting you set a goal percentage is because the problem with deciding how much to give after your see what's left at the end of each month is that it's less likely to actually happen that way. I don’t think a lot of us are disciplined enough to look into our bank accounts on that day before we get paid to see exactly how much is left. Or if you are one of those people that spends your account down to zero every month because you keep a separate emergency savings account, I don’t think you’re going to be thinking about donating at the end of the month. So this is one way, set a percentage of 1% after taxes and donate that much each month. 

2. Tie it to a routine. Give on your birthday. Or on all days you get off work, most of those are federal holidays. You could decide to give $50 every time you get a day off. Or $100 if that makes more sense for your budget. There are roughly ten federal holidays per year, so if you are giving $50 each time, that’s $500 total donations over the course of a year. If you are doing $100 per holiday, that is going to get you to around $1,000. I think that could also give you something to look forward to on those days off.

3. Keep it simple. By picking a favorite place to give, or a theme to reduce the scope of charities to choose from. Your theme could be your neighborhood or city. Your theme could be one of your priorities, like racial justice, or the environment, or mental health.

4. Keep it fun. For a lot of people that means community. You can do a giving circle with friends from work or family. You can let people know about this experiment you're doing this year. You can build in rewards. I respond very well to rewards. Lol. Like maybe you wear your favorite outfit on the days when you send that donation in. Or you go to the park to feed the ducks. Whatever your idea of a treat is.

Those are some initial suggestions, please do poke around the other episodes this season because there are lots of ideas, people sent in a lot of great questions that might help get you going. And there are lots of other good discussions on other ways we can use our money for good. How we donate, but also how we spend, and how we invest.

And please don’t be too hard on yourself, let’s all do what’s within our scope of control, while remembering to put pressure on the institutions that have gotten our world to the point that we’re in.

To submit your letter to the show, email spenddonateinvest@gmail.com

To support the show visit buymeacoffee.com/spenddonate

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/spenddonate)
Transcript

Today’s letter is about where to start with donating. Here’s the letter:

What to do if I feel overwhelmed by donating?

It’s natural to feel overwhelmed, I don’t think most of us learned anything about donating as kids, except for maybe some kids grow up with the practice of giving to their religious institutions. And even then, I think what kids tend to learn is more about the practice and benefits of giving, not as much about how to make decisions related to giving.

So here are some tips:

1. Pick a percentage goal. Check out episode 2 for some thoughts on this. In addition to the ideas in that episode, you might find it to be an interesting benchmark that the USA gives 0.75% in foreign aid, you could start at 1% if you're brand new to giving. Please don't get caught up on whether you’re giving 1% of your gross income versus net income after tax. Let’s keep it simple, start with 1% of your take home pay, after taxes. The reason I’m suggesting you set a goal percentage is because the problem with deciding how much to give after your see what's left at the end of each month is that it's less likely to actually happen that way. I don’t think a lot of us are disciplined enough to look into our bank accounts on that day before we get paid to see exactly how much is left. Or if you are one of those people that spends your account down to zero every month because you keep a separate emergency savings account, I don’t think you’re going to be thinking about donating at the end of the month. So this is one way, set a percentage of 1% after taxes and donate that much each month. 

2. Tie it to a routine. Give on your birthday. Or on all days you get off work, most of those are federal holidays. You could decide to give $50 every time you get a day off. Or $100 if that makes more sense for your budget. There are roughly ten federal holidays per year, so if you are giving $50 each time, that’s $500 total donations over the course of a year. If you are doing $100 per holiday, that is going to get you to around $1,000. I think that could also give you something to look forward to on those days off.

3. Keep it simple. By picking a favorite place to give, or a theme to reduce the scope of charities to choose from. Your theme could be your neighborhood or city. Your theme could be one of your priorities, like racial justice, or the environment, or mental health.

4. Keep it fun. For a lot of people that means community. You can do a giving circle with friends from work or family. You can let people know about this experiment you're doing this year. You can build in rewards. I respond very well to rewards. Lol. Like maybe you wear your favorite outfit on the days when you send that donation in. Or you go to the park to feed the ducks. Whatever your idea of a treat is.

Those are some initial suggestions, please do poke around the other episodes this season because there are lots of ideas, people sent in a lot of great questions that might help get you going. And there are lots of other good discussions on other ways we can use our money for good. How we donate, but also how we spend, and how we invest.

And please don’t be too hard on yourself, let’s all do what’s within our scope of control, while remembering to put pressure on the institutions that have gotten our world to the point that we’re in.

To submit your letter to the show, email spenddonateinvest@gmail.com

To support the show visit buymeacoffee.com/spenddonate