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Now is the Time to Donate to Charity

For many years I have written about the benefits of giving to charity.  Donating is a key part of my mission and life.  Now, with the current economic decline and Covid-19 situation, donations are more important than ever.  Now is the time to donate to charity.

So Many People In Need, And Yet Many Still Able to Provide

In 2019 we had 2 posts on the power of donation.  The first talked about the benefits to you of donating.  That feeling of having an impact.  Especially with local giving, there is a knock-on effect of helping the community you live in which will ultimately improve your life as well.   Well, that brings us to the point today.

17 Million people have become unemployed in recent weeks due to Covid-19.  That represents over 13 percent of the workforce as of the time of this writing.  That’s the worst rate since the great depression and a national emergency.  But, that also means that 87 percent of the individuals considered in the workforce are still employed.   That number means there are still 113 Million people with jobs.  

Put Your Mask on First Before Donating

Now not all of those with jobs are in great shape either.  Many people have had their pay cut or perhaps only have their job for a few more weeks.  But I have to consider that there are still a significant number of people that are receiving a regular income during this crisis.  This piece is really written to those who still have a secure income source and an emergency fund should that change.

Why the caveat to start?  Well, frankly you don’t want to spend money that could lead to you being part of those needing support. Similar to putting your mask on first when an airline depressurizes, you need to ensure you are ok first. That being said, the above still leaves millions in good financial shape to be able to donate.  I also suspect many of our readerships fall into this category. These people with financial security should be able to donate. 

Your Community Needs Your Donation

If we look at the flip side, if 13% of our country are now unemployed that means these charitable organizations are stretched to their limits.  With people social distancing they are most likely having difficulty getting volunteers.  With more people out of work they likely have more people vying for their services than ever before.

A Donation Benefits You

So now is the time to help these organizations out if you fit our caveat or are close to it.  The reality is, the worse things get in your community the worse you will experience your community.  The more unemployment and other issues the more crime for example.  So if you are not giving due to a morality play, then do it because it will improve your experience in your own community.

You Can Now Deduct without Itemizing

Still not enough?  The latest stimulus package added an above the line deduction of $300 for cash donations.  That means you can deduct donations even if you don’t itemize.   They also removed many of the limits on the amount of donations you can deduct.  So a donation you give today will help you out in the future.    

Skip the Donor Advised Fund (DAF) for a Direct Donation

One final note.  Many in the community give money to charitable organizations through Donor Advised Funds (DAF).  Essentially the money goes to an investment account with a current deduction and a future ability to deploy to the charity of your choice.    Under normal circumstances I have no issue with this setup.  But to be clear, these organizations need your funds now.  Not next year or a decade from now.  So please, save the DAF contribution for later and give directly for the time being.  

For ideas on where to give you can read our post on how we decide where to donate here.  In this time of need we have so far chosen, amongst others, to give to our local Food Bank and fire company.  

Many Can Probably Give Now Without Impacting Your Budget

Frankly, our giving did not even impact our budget, which made it a no brainer.  As I wrote in our recent article about leaner times ahead, we were working to pull back some previously spent money on vacations canceled due to the virus.  Well, that money was returned to us.  Frankly, we won’t be able to use money for vacations for a while.  So it made sense to reapply most of this category of funds to charity.   

I tell you this only to get you thinking.  Are your expenses declining due to the virus?  Perhaps redirect that category of spending to donations.  Are you receiving a stimulus check you don’t necessarily need?  Again redirecting it makes sense as it will have no impact on your existing financial plans but have an outsized impact in this tough time.

Please Donate Now!

The incentives, both moral and financial are there for you to make this a time to help your fellow man.  Please do so.

Are you giving back to your community in this tough time?

2 Comments

  1. Mr. 39 Months
    Mr. 39 Months April 16, 2020

    Couldn’t agree more! There are a lot of folks in worse shape than FI people – and many not because they don’t manage their finances, but because they haven’t made enough money yet to prepare for a long-term emergency for them and their family.

    We regularly set aside money every month for Charity giving (haven’t hit 10% yet, but getting there). So we’ve got funds to give.

    We gave a significant amount to our local food bank when this first started, and just gave the same to the Salvation Army. Hopefully it will help.

    Make sure you check out the charity to ensure a large percentage of the money is going to people in need. There are a lot of fake charities suddenly popping up.

    Thanks for writing this!

    • FullTimeFinance
      FullTimeFinance April 20, 2020

      I’ve gotten to the point where we have a set monthly contribution above and beyond our normal rate. That will continue until our spending returns to normal.

      Thanks to you for having your actions in the right place!

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