Overall, there is a lot going on in the world which can make you want to do you part. However, this can seem daunting if you don’t have the spare dollars to put into the causes you believe in. Given that, you might even feel guilty.
How can you give back without blowing your budget? GoDay is here to give you all the tips. But before we get to our ideas on giving back, let’s cover some questions to ask yourself first:
- What types of causes are you most passionate about? Is it animal care, supporting refugees, or the local library where so much knowledge is shared? Accordingly, consider what is important to you, as this will help you find a good fit and keep you motivated.
- Do you want to include friends and family or do you prefer to take on an initiative alone? Bringing everyone together can be great for bonding, but doing a solo project can also be very satisfying. Decide what is right for you.
- How much time or resources are you willing to expend? Can you commit to once a week, once a month, or just a couple of times per year? Different organizations may require more commitment. Determining this is always a reasonable first step.
Ways to give back that don’t cost money
Now that you’ve decided the above, let’s look at some ways you can give back that don’t involve spending an arm and a leg.
Look for ways to do nice things for others
Unquestionably, giving doesn’t always need to be monetary. In fact, giving through actions can have a substantial impact too. Think of gestures that could go a long way. Here are some examples:
- Leave a review for your favourite local businesses online
- Review your favourite podcasters, musicians, or authors online
- Find ways to donate your time
A good ol’ random act of kindness does not get old or go undervalued. Simple things like these can make someone’s day:
- Smile and say “hello”
- Stop complaining
- Give someone a compliment
- Write a kind letter
- Bring someone a meal
- Help the environment by doing your part
Donate your clothing or other items
Once again, you can help without spending money. A great way to give back is through clothing or household donations. Of course, many charities need these items including the Salvation Army & Value Village. Some other ideas include:
- Donating directly to homeless shelters that need specific items
- Gift your business clothes to Dress for Success, a worldwide organization that helps women obtain the right clothes to land a job
- Give items such as blankets, sheets, pillows, and toys to an animal charity
If you don’t know where to start, here’s some inspiration:
- Give away clothes you don’t wear
- Give away books you don’t read or have already read
- Donate lightly used toys or stuffed animals your kids no longer play with
- Make something to donate such as blankets, mittens and hats for homeless shelters
- Donate your hair for wigs for cancer patients
Generally, one of the easiest ways to give back is to seek out volunteer opportunities. This will this make you feel good, to say nothing of the importance it plays in organizations that rely heavily on volunteers. There are thousands of volunteer opportunities exist out there. As a result, whether you’re interested in helping kids, the elderly, families, or animals, you have options. Volunteer Canada can be a great database to start your search.
Volunteer your pet
Have a cat or a dog? Lots of organizations look for pets to help with mental health at schools, hospitals, elderly homes, etc. Your pet may need to pass a test for certification. However, once you do your fur baby can bring people a lot of joy. Organizations like Therapeutic Paws of Canada are a good resource.
Become a mentor
Unquestionably, your professional skillset can be of great value to someone who is in your field of work. A successful entrepreneur can help start-ups succeed and a senior marketing professional can help a junior. Organizations like Futurpreneur Canada have great mentorship programs available for free.
During the pandemic, it may not seem like the appropriate time to give blood. Nonetheless, there is ALWAYS a need for it. If you meet the requirements, this can be a fantastic way to give back. Check out the Canadian Blood Services for more information.
Use your voice
Don’t underestimate how powerful your voice can be. If you have a favourite charity or cause, talk about it on social media. Share videos, stories, and re-post charity posts. Educate others, increase awareness, and don’t spend a dime.
While doing your bit for the world, you can also can also claim donations to registered charities on your income tax each year. You’ll need an official receipt, but you don’t need to donate a bundle.
At the federal level, your tax credit is 15% of the first $200, and 29% of your additional donations. Likewise, all provinces have similar credits which fluctuate between 4-24%. The CRA provides an online tool that will help you calculate your credit and the provincial component.
The Charitable Donation Tax Credit is higher over $200. If you can, combine your donations with your spouses and file them on one tax return. Either that, or accumulate donations for up to five years. Either way, you’ll benefit your charities and enjoy a greater tax deduction.
Budgeting for giving back
A budget shouldn’t just include your needs and wants. Equally, it should also include how you want to give back. If you want to seriously commit to charities or causes, you need to allocate dollars towards them in your budget. Here’s what we would recommend:
- If you don’t have a budget, lay out all your expenses now. First, start with the necessities like your mortgage/rent, car payments, hydro, etc.
- Next, make sure you’ve included savings or debt repayments. How much are you putting towards debt each month? How much are you putting into an RRSP or savings account?
- Once you know how much you have leftover, then you can commit an amount towards a charity. Likewise, if you don’t have extra money, try some of the other methods we mentioned earlier.
You don’t necessarily have to make a lump sum donation either. Some charities allow you to make monthly or quarterly donations. Choose a donation plan that makes the most sense for your budget. Signing up for a recurring plan may include automatic withdrawals. This is preferrable to one on your credit card.
In conclusion, don’t be hard on yourself. Sometimes it can be hard to find time or money to help. Do what you can when you’re able. Regardless, every little bit makes a difference!
What are your tips for getting involved in the community?