Question of the Day – Giving/Charity

November 30, 2006

I recall talking about this in the past but I don’t remember making it the question of the day. So, here goes:

Do you budget for giving or do you simply give as the opportunity presents itself?

My wife and I USED to give on the spur of the moment. This year though, we actually budgeted for the entire year, giving a monthly amount to a couple of different charities that we respect. When someone calls to ask for money, I tell them that we have a budget for our giving and they normally leave us alone.


I don’t feel guilty for not contributing to every charity that calls because we can’t possibly contribute to every cause, and we already budget for our giving. Now I just wish the charities we already give to would stop asking us for ADDITIONAL funds but that’s another blog topic.

13 responses to Question of the Day – Giving/Charity

  1. We don’t have a set budget for charitable giving, but there are a few charities that we donate to once per year.

    I ignore all other blind mailings or phone calls asking for money, but we do make donations throughout the year on a case by case basis (food pantries, fundraisers for families with sick children, etc.).

  2. My husband and I do have a budget item for charity/tithing. We have the monthly amount that we give and we also plan for “special” times like Christmas and Easter when an additional amount is asked for. We also give to our alma mater and this year I’m going to budget for giving to people who walk for March of Dimes and those types of things.

  3. My wife & I tithe 10% of our gross income to our church. My wife is the generous, joyful giver and I’m the type who insists on doing the right thing whether I enjoy it or not.

    If we didn’t give a set amount, agreed upon in advance, we’d certainly give less because it our budget doesn’t have much flexability after tithing and paying our bills.

  4. I budget 0% for giving, and only occasionally give a token amount ($10) if the mood takes me. I just don’t feel any urge to give.

    When I do donate, I make sure it’s direct to the charity (eg. via their website or mail). A lot of the people collecting for charities on the street get paid a large (40% or more) fraction of the money collected.

  5. We budget offerings for church, but we still give to good causes randomly.

  6. I don’t have a charity budget, things are too tight for us lately, but I do still give. I personally wish I could give all of my spare money to others in need, but that will have to be sometime in the future when we are financially secure.

    Instead of giving to charities, I prefer to give to those in need directly. For example, where I work there is a public cafeteria, and meals/food are quite reasonable. Occasionally some of the homeless come in with a meager dollar or so in change to buy a cup of soup or something. I like to give them a couple dollars so they can get a full meal. They are so thankful and to see a genuine smile on their face from receiving just a few dollars is worth more than anything I could otherwise give.

    Other than that, we generally take a great deal of our unused belongings to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.

    I would also agree with JLP though, and that is about charities you do contribute to and asking for more! We constantly get mail from charities we have given money to asking for more more more. It is a bit of a turn-off when you give and then continue to receive things in the mail reminding you to give again.

  7. Both. We have a set minimum but if fortune smiles upon us we may exceed that, or if something unforseen happens we may shell out again. My husband melted like butter when he got a letter in the mail from Catholic Charities after that tsunami. Charities that sell our names and charities that approach us unsolicited are certain to be disregarded. Our alma mater has sold us out to every charity in that city, and I regularly get appeal letters at my in-laws’ house (I’ve never lived there, so I have no idea why). That’s really irritating.

  8. We “Parish Pay” our contributions to Church…(your choice of contributing via your checking acct or a credit card for a set monthly amount, plus your choice of amounts for Easter, Christmas offerings, etc.) Yeah, I hate feeling like a heel “passing” the basket, but I know we have efficiently paid “our share”…(saved envelopes, mailing, payroll, etc.) It’s what’s in your heart, not what other people think you’re contributing that matters, right?!!

    In the fall I make a token donation to our Alma Mater’s world-renown library. We give more generously to a local Family Counseling Service that sponsors Big Brothers/Big Sisters, counseling in anger mgmt, family stuff, etc.

    Of course there’s a handful of other charities that receive up to $50. I always support my high school. Salvation Army always gets something each time I grocery shop, etc. So it’s a mix of 98% budgeted, 2% unbudgeted. Plus, Goodwill gets the clothing and household castoffs that don’t sell at our garage sale. I also ardently support (thru my time and treasure)Scouting and PTA activities.

    There is so much to be grateful for…and there is so much need in almost every community…it irks me when people give nothing (who can afford to give something.) Start w/your time, if it hurts too much to crank open your wallet.

    OK, I know I’ve just offended someone out there…sorry for that, but start looking outside your own world and make a difference.

    P.S. Especially irksome is while selling Cub Scout popcorn in front of the grocery store, folks claim that they “left their wallet at home, in the car, etc.” Just politely say to these hard-working Scouts that you’re not interested and wish them well. Another favorite is gals w/their designer purses and manicured nails who “don’t have any money on them.” Gee, I wonder why!

    The soapbox has now been removed…

  9. I do both as well. I have donations budgeted under a broader gift category for about 5% of my income – most of which goes to monthly or annual contributions to my favorite charities. I also give for special circumstances or specific appeals when I can, especially with extra year-end bonuses. Also, I try to make it a habit to integrate charity and justice into other parts of my budget – so, I primarily buy fair-trade food products, look for fair-trade gifts when possible,and always get UNICEF cards.

    I have to admit though that I’m now on so many charity mailing lists that I have more address labels that I could ever possibly use!

  10. We pay tithes (10%) based on our income to our church and have a separate, budgeted line for offerings above the tithe. We split the offerings out among many different organizations.

  11. I’m more of a give as the opportunity presents itself kind of person, however, it would probably be better if I actually planned out the giving.

    I spend time managing my portfolio of investments, I think it would just as smart to build a charity portfolio. I could allocate my donations across various needs, donate systematically, and track their performance in terms of projects they complete and overhead costs. I guess I need to start my CharityFolio.

  12. My giving is probably about 90% budgeted, 10% unbudgeted. I budget a set amount for giving at the beginning of each month, and at that time decide where it’s going to go. I give to only a couple causes, which reduces junk mail somewhat, and I feel more personally involved with that cause, rather than just giving $50 to a lot of different places.

  13. We donate about 10% of our income. We have actualy made a portion of our giving automatic through payroll deduct and bank transfers.