One of the essentials of good personal finances is charitable giving. It seems counterintuitive, but giving is important to well-rounded financial health. I know that giving has benefitted my finances. Not only do I get a tax deduction for my charitable giving when I itemize, but I also find that my finances run smoother. Because giving is a priority, I know that I need to keep other aspects of my finances organized and in proper order so that I have enough to meet my charitable giving goals.

Giving isn’t just about throwing money at an organization and forgetting about it, though. Many of us like to know that our dollars are going to a good cause and that the money is being used to truly help others. As a business owner and as an individual, it makes sense that you want to make the most of your charitable giving.

Research Charitable Organizations

I used to give to a particular organization, and then I did a little research and found out that only about 40 cents of every dollar went toward actually helping with the professed mission. The executives in the organization had huge salaries and there was a lot more spending on other items. I did a little more research to find an organization where 90 cents of every dollar went to the cause. That’s where I put my money now.

You can do the same. Use a website like CharityNavigator.org to research an organization before you commit financial resources. Knowing that more of your donation goes to help those you are trying to benefit helps you feel better about your charitable giving.

Give Locally

One of my favorite ways to give is locally. While I do send money to larger national organizations, the bulk of my donation money stays local. I look for local organizations that help the community. Currently, I focus on the local food pantry. I know the money is being used to help those with the most need in my community. Plus, I am acquainted with the people involved with the local effort, and I trust them. Look around for local organizations that align with your values and give to them, whether it’s the local animal shelter, domestic violence center, conservation organization, or any other organization.

Give Your Time and Talent

Finally, don’t forget that your charitable giving doesn’t just have to be about providing financial support. Many organizations need people to help them run their programs. I started volunteering with a local organization that I think has the potential to make positive change in my city and in my state. I love the work and the people I have gotten to know. Plus, I can see the results of my efforts firsthand.

While I still give money to the cause, I also like that I can help out. There is less need for money when I’m providing a service that normally the organization would pay for. I have some talents and expertise need by the organization, and now they can get what is needed without the need to pay for it.

If you have the time to spare from your business, consider taking your charitable giving up a notch by investing time into the cause, as well as your money.

I'm Miranda and I'm a freelance financial journalist and money expert. My specialties are investing, small business/entrepreneurship and personal finance. The journey to business success and financial freedom is best undertaken with fellow travelers.

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