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22 January 2014

Five tips for incorporating giving into your budget

Do you regularly contribute to good causes or get involved with fundraising activities? Community Impact Manager Shannon Carruth shares her top tips for getting the most out of your charitable donations this year. 

It’s no surprise that Australians have a reputation for being incredibly generous when it comes to supporting worthy causes. As a nation, we’ve continually made the top 10 of the World’s most charitable countries in the World Giving Index, which measures giving behaviours including volunteering time, helping a stranger and donating money.

According to the World Giving Index 2013, 67% of Australians gave money to charity in 2012. If you make regular donations, or would like to, here are some tips to help manage your charitable giving over the year.

1. Set a giving budget

Setting a budget is something many of us try and do to live within our means and manage our money effectively, so why not incorporate giving into the calculations and set yourself up for the year ahead?  Regular monthly giving not only can make it easier for you to manage your money, it also benefits charities more than a one-off donation as it helps them plan ahead.

2. Allocate half towards an emergency fund

Aussies are quick to dip into their pockets when it comes to helping out in a crisis appeal. Just like you may have an emergency fund of your own in case of a rainy day, you could consider starting an emergency fund for charity donations. Put a percentage of your giving budget aside each month in a savings account and use it as a fund for when you need it. Many organisations raising money offer to dollar match contributions – keep an eye out so that your chosen charity could benefit from double the donation.

3. Choose your cause

There are always lots of requests from deserving charities, and understandably you may not be able to support them all financially. If you want to set up a direct debit to a charity, choose a cause which resonates with you, and aligns with what’s important to you. If you are unable to support other charities financially, then consider other ways of helping out – for example volunteering.

4. Make your money go further

Did you know that your personal donations may be tax-deductible? Keep your receipts so that you can keep track of how much you gave over the last financial year and potentially claim a tax deduction on your donations made at the end of the financial year. An alternative could be to salary sacrifice your donation through a structured giving scheme via your workplace – your donations are taken out pre-tax, so you may enjoy the benefits up front.  A $10 donation fortnightly deducted from your pay may not seem like a lot, but over the year can go a long way to helping your chosen charity.

5. Give a gift

Are you lacking ideas and inspiration when people ask you what’s on your birthday gift list? Instead, consider asking friends to redirect funds to a good cause by asking for donations to your favourite charity in lieu of gifts. If you would like to give people some choice in which charities they support, organisations such as Karma Currency allow donors to choose where their money goes.

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