According to an article I recently read on the Forbes web site, charitable giving in the United States grew 4.9 percent in 2013. This represents the largest year-to-year increase in charitable giving since 2008.
Online giving grew at an especially rapid pace. The Internet makes it easier than ever to give money to causes that you believe in. I even gave, via Facebook, to the Red Cross in 2013. It’s much easier to give when all it takes is a couple of clicks. And, of course, social media also makes it easy to see who needs your help, and it raises awareness of different causes and events.
As more people get back into a giving spirit, it is a good time for you to review your own charitable giving habits. If you aren’t sure about giving to charity, here are 3 reasons to consider giving your money away:
1. You Can Help Create a Better World
Many legitimate charities have missions that can help create a better world. Even if you don’t think that your few dollars will make a big difference on a global scale, you can still create a better world close to home. I give regularly to the local food bank. I can see where the money goes, and even participate on the board if I want. Being able to see where your charitable donation goes can be a powerful incentive to keep giving.
Creating a better world, a better society, makes sense. You reap the benefits of a civil society, and giving to charities that participate in causes that are important to you can provide you with a way to help advance goals that you see as beneficial to society as a whole.
2. Feel Good About Yourself
We all like to feel the “warm fuzzies.” Giving to charity can give you a bit of a self-esteem boost. When you know that you are doing something worthwhile, or contributing to a worthy cause, you can feel good about the way you use your money. It’s a nice feeling to know that you are capable of helping others, and of being charitable.
Giving to charity can boost your mood, as long as you feel good about where the money is going. Plus, you’ll feel better about your spending decisions when you know that your money is making an improvement in the world. Plus, if you believe in karma or blessings, giving to charity means that you will benefit in other intangible ways as well.
3. Benefit Your Finances
Believe it or not, giving money away can benefit your finances. One of the most obvious ways that charitable giving can help your finances is by reducing your tax liability. If you itemize your taxes, you can receive a deduction for the amount you give away. Many of us feel better about giving to chosen charities than to giving to the government, so a deduction that helps reduce your tax liability — while benefiting an organization you believe in — can be a bonus.
Giving to charity can also benefit your finances by encouraging you to think about the way you use your money. If you make charitable giving a priority, the rest of your budget has to fall in line. This means that you have to plan your finances a little bit better if you want to fulfill your giving goals and meet your other financial obligations. When you prioritize your finances in this way, you are forced to consider the situation and make better decisions about your money. Charitable giving can be part of that process.
When you give to charity, you are doing more than just giving money away. You might be helping others, improving the world, and even giving your own finances a boost.
Miranda is freelance journalist. She specializes in topics related to money, especially personal finance, small business, and investing. You can read more of my writing at Planting Money Seeds.