How would you like to give $1,000 to your favourite charity? Sounds pretty great, but how many of us can really afford to write a big cheque to a charity whenever the impulse to give kicks in? Probably not many of us. But fear not, you can give like a wealthy philanthropist, it just takes a little planning. If you can work $85 into your monthly budget, in a year you’ll have a little over $1,000 that you can give to a cause that matters to you.
But why bother saving monthly? Financial planners, banks, and investors know that automating your monthly savings comes with a host of benefits; each of these benefits applies just as well to monthly charitable giving. And CHIMP makes it easy to do with a simple, automatic system that will boost your ability to give in just a few short months.
Here are our top six benefits of giving monthly.
1. It helps you to focus on what’s important
Everybody knows that a decaf mint mocha latte with foam on the bottom is a delicious treat. But at $8 and a thousand calories per cup, knowing that you are committed to giving to your cause is even more valuable. RBC advisors suggest that an automated savings plan helps keep your eyes on the prize, helping to curb impulse spending, so more of your money goes to your cause instead of your waistline.
2. It takes the effort out of giving
You already have to remember to pay your credit card bill, insurance, phone bill, and a whole bunch of other things at the end of the month, so are you really going to remember to set aside something for charity? The financial experts at NerdWallet cite time savings and reduced effort as major benefits of saving monthly. Set up the automatic gift when your intentions are good and you aren’t burnt out from 30 days of working for the weekend. When the first of the month rolls around, you won’t have to worry about it.
3. It helps set goals
Want to give $1,000 to save the whales? That’s $83.33 per month: very budget-friendly. How about $150 to help the homeless? That’s twelve installments of $12.50, perfect for the frugal philanthropist. Giving monthly can help you set goals based on the magnitude of impact you want to make, from modest to very large gifts. Just figure out what you care about and how much you want to give, then divide by twelve. Easy.
4. You’ll be surprised how much you’ve saved
Time flies when you’re having fun. But it also flies when you’re living an adult life filled with stress, babies, vacations, standing in line at the grocery store, weddings, concerts, making dinner, and everything else that eats up the hours. Chances are, once you set up an automated gift and forget about it for awhile, you’ll be baffled when you see how much you’ve saved without even noticing it. You did more good by doing less, nice work.
5. Donations aren’t the only thing that adds up
It’s great when after a year you log in and find that sweet pile of charity dollars waiting to make some change. It’s almost as amazing when you realize you’ve got tax credits for the whole dang pile. CHIMP keeps all those tax receipts organized, so there’s no scrambling around trying to find emails or pieces of paper in April. Instead, you get to use a nice calculator like this and discover that the $1,000 you saved up gets you as much as $494 in tax credits, depending on the province or territory in which you live. It only cost you five bills to give a grand! That’s great math.
6. You’ll be prepared
Remember when that nephew hit you up for a donation for his bike-to-school fundraiser and you could only spare a Hamilton? It would have been nice to boost that kid up the leaderboard to show him the value of making a big impact. What about the recent fires in Fort McMurray and Northern British Columbia? They showed up without warning and charities working to support people affected by the fires badly need donations – the bigger the better. If you’ve been saving a nest egg of charity dollars without a specific purpose in mind, you’ll be ready to make someone’s day with a big donation.
Now that you’ve saved up…
If you’ve spent a few months or years building up your CHIMP Account but you don’t really know exactly where your donation will go furthest, a great place to start your research is Charity Intelligence. This independent service examines and rates charities based on the return you get for your money. They provide individual charity ratings plus helpful categorized lists of the charities doing the most in a given field, like the environment, youth services, higher education, arts and culture, international aid, amateur athletics, and many more.