Giving to Charity: Time vs. Money

Charitable Contributions of Time and Money Are Equally Helpful

Have you been thinking about donating to a charity, or looking for a new way to give back to your community? If you’re like many Americans these days, you may be on a tight budget and feel like it’s difficult to come up with the extra money to give. While giving money to charities helps them immensely and they rely on contributions, it can also be even more beneficial to give the gift of your time. Whether you’re looking to donate monetarily or through volunteer service, offerings of all sorts are greatly appreciated by those in need and by the charitable organizations themselves.

There are many charities that you can donate money to and you probably already know how to get in touch with those. You can choose to contribute to a local organization or to a national group, and in some cases, you can donate directly to those in need. Many people decide to donate to their schools and churches, or other organizations they are already involved in, and this is also a good option. Tax-deductible donations may also be claimed on your income taxes, giving you an extra benefit in addition to the satisfaction of helping. It’s easy to donate to charities through online methods, by dropping off money to the physical location, through mail, or, even by texting a donation to a special number, which is then added to your phone bill.

Giving Time Instead of Money

However, for those who are already running on a tight budget, or perhaps are looking to give something more substantial than a monetary donation, volunteering your time is a very valuable contribution. Organizations are in great need of volunteers for all positions, and will always welcome your assistance. Charities need both money and volunteer service to keep running smoothly and effectively.

Additionally, by volunteering directly with an organization you may get the chance to work with the individuals you are helping. You’ll touch lives as you help those in need, and they will truly appreciate the time you spend with them as your time is one of the most valuable gifts you can give. Working with people can be an especially rewarding opportunity, as you’ll be able to see the impact your service has. Whether you choose to work with children, senior citizens, or battered women, you’ll be able to recognize the difference you are making in each individual’s life as you get to know them. You’ll build valuable relationships, and provide a positive influence for each person. You can also create an incredibly powerful source of stability for the people you help, many of whom have come from very detrimental or difficult backgrounds.

While many people may feel overwhelmed by their already busy schedules, it’s always possible to fit in time for a volunteer commitment. You’ll find the consistent presence of a regular service time to be a calming, stabilizing force in your life, and you’ll find yourself looking forward to seeing those individuals that you work with. Volunteering your time can heighten your levels of satisfaction, and you can be proud of the effort you put into giving back to your community. Service opportunities may also be a great way to connect with friends and family members, as you can all go volunteer at an organization together — which maximizes your satisfaction and, more importantly, your impact.

Some people may prefer to work in a subtle manner, and look for volunteer opportunities that don’t involve working with the direct public. These positions are just as important and the organization you choose to work with will gladly accept any time you’re willing to give. You may be able to find a way to contribute to an organization that utilizes your skill sets, or that perhaps models your career training. Many organizations will also provide training programs prior to the start of your service. When you’re looking for a new way to get involved in the community, there is always a service opportunity available for everyone.

For example, if you have a background in technology or design and you notice a local organization is in need of a website or could use a better website, you could ask if they would like your help in creating one. This would allow you to offer your skills and maybe even work from home in your spare time while providing a valuable service to your charity. In the end, your time could save them hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Finding Charitable Opportunities

What’s the best way to find these volunteer opportunities? With so many organizations in need of help there will always be many options to choose from in your area. If you need help finding a place to offer your service, check out an online volunteer database. Websites like VolunteerMatch help volunteers find organizations that best fit their skill sets. You can also check out dosomething.org, and idealist.org to find similar opportunities in your area. Additionally, you can check out local community bulletin boards, or ask others if they know of organizations in need.

But don’t stop there. While making donations or volunteering some time is a great thing, you can go the next step and become an everyday philanthropist. There are countless small things you can do every day that can make a tremendous impact in your local community. Check out the book How to Be an EVERYDAY Philanthropist: 330 Ways To Make A Difference In Your Home, Community, and World At No Cost, You’ll find plenty of ways to make a difference without sacrificing money or much of your time.

Whether you choose to give to charities through a monetary donation or by offering your time, know that the value you can offer is incredibly important, no matter how large or small. By donating your time and services, you can show people in need that they are cared about, and offer them an extra bit of hope during a difficult time.

Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle

My name is Jeremy Vohwinkle, and I’ve spent a number of years working in the finance industry providing financial advice to regular investors and those participating in employer-sponsored retirement plans.

3 comments
cherieleseur
cherieleseur

It's a pleasure Jeremy.  And "Kudos" to all those individuals that are looking to make a difference in the lives of others. Writing a check comes easy to some...taking time to embrace   someone is personal. Sharing and encouraging others is a greater gift than many could ever imagine... I'm new to Texas but my sons & I have committed to this incredible experience for years...both graduates of Morehouse where they continued outside of my presence.:) I've done a little here in Texas but I'm looking to do more.  Because, Texas is so big I prefer it near my home...   Can you suggest some places to try.... Thanks.

Ashley S.C. Walls
Ashley S.C. Walls

I think it is very important to volunteer especially if you are unemployed. I do beleive that certain jobs, can hinder the volunteer spirit. For example, people that work in after school programs may feel as though their work is a form of volunteering due to long hours, underpay, and the emotional pull that is developed.

Kirsten
Kirsten

Im new to this. Is there a place out there that takes used pencils, writing pins, paper ect.. Ive been thinking about asking the schools to set out bookes at the end of the school year for students to place the things they dont want anymore. So if anyone can help me get this started or tell me if someone is already doing this so I can send items it would really help me out. Thanks and God Bless, Kirsten