You don’t have to be rich to be a philanthropist. You can make a huge difference by giving to charities, in small amounts, or by donating your time to a charitable cause. Non-profits love to get small monthly contributions, but they also love when people spend their time helping out.
A wealthy person might create a non-profit to increase the charitable reach, but the cost for the average person is just not possible. The lowest of costs can exceed $1 million, and that’s only if you intend to run the organization yourself without any paid staff. This why most people donate smaller amounts of money or give their time to charitable organizations.
With a charitable gift fund, you can benefit from the tax advantages without the expense of running your own foundation. The average American cannot afford to open a foundation of their own. With this method, you have the ability to give smaller amounts at regular intervals. This is a great way to support a long-term charitable approach to life, and to put philanthropy in reach of more of us than just the wealthy.
Donating your time to a charity is similar to making a cash donation. You want to know that the charity you’re considering is legitimate and will use your time and talent efficiently.
Most of the work charities perform is made possible because of volunteers and the number of people giving their time. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 63.4 million people volunteered for an organization in 2009.
Charities need volunteers to help the community and those in need. Volunteering is an incredibly rewarding experience, but you want to do your research when you give your time, just as if you were giving money, to make sure it is a truly legitimate charity. Just as you would if you were donating money, it is imperative that you research the charity completely to make sure the organization has a commitment to standards and accountability.
Volunteering opportunities are available for just about anyone. Consider what you’re good at and what services you would be interested in providing. There are many charities out there to choose from. Use your interests and find a cause that resonates with you. Find out what has meaning to you and what you are passionate about, and you will be more likely to stay with the charity and be more enthusiastic about volunteering. Most people choose charities that hit close to home for them, such as a cause that has affected their life on a personal level.
Estimate how much time you are able to give. It’s better to volunteer for the amount of time you can handle, rather than drop out in the middle of a longer commitment. Commit to it. More than one third of those who volunteer one year usually don’t volunteer the following year. Keep at it and look for new opportunities where you can give back. In this tough economy, charities need the support of volunteers more than ever.