Meaningful Giving on a Budget | Money Management | Exodus Lending - Exodus Lending

Meaningful Giving on a Budget

By Kaitlyn Szabo December 20, 2021

It’s science, really. People want to give, and often feel better when they do. While we believe anyone who wants to can donate a personally meaningful amount without compromising their finances, it isn’t always clear how. So if you want to learn how to include donations or meaningful giving in your financial plan, this guide is for you!

Here are 3 Steps to Meaningfully Give on a Budget.

(Look for the 📝 to see scripts on how to apply each step to your unique situation!)

Step 1: Determine your “Why?”

To help determine what exactly you care about, think about three guiding questions:

  • What are you passionate about? Find organizations that support your favorite causes. e.g., I personally care about nature preservation because I really enjoy spending time outdoors.
  • Where do you feel a sense of loyalty? If you are a member somewhere, you likely want to prioritize them. e.g., I personally care about my church community because my faith is very important to me. 
  • What unplanned event may need my support? Make a plan now to help as you’re able during a crisis. e.g., I want to help my neighbors or friends with health issues because I care about their wellbeing.

📝 I personally care about/want to help __________________ because __________________________.

Step 2: Find the “Who”

Now that you know why you want to give, find an organization that is aligned with your selected values. Some options include charitable organizations, non-profits, a faith community, or mutual aid efforts in your community. There is no “right” answer here because all the above are worthy in their own ways. The key is to find a group you trust. Be sure to research charities on sites like Charity Navigator or the Charities Review Council. Additionally, GiveMN is a central hub for Minnesota non-profits, and you can find many organizations (like ours) there.

📝 I want to support ______________________ because _____________________________.

e.g., I want to support Exodus Lending because their work aligns with my passion for economic justice.

Step 3: Figure out a Meaningful “How Much?”

Be as specific as possible with your giving plan, but be sure whatever amount you choose will not derail your financial wellbeing. For example, if you use the 50/30/20 method of budgeting, this amount should be within your “wants” category.

Here are some strategies to make space in your budget for donations.

  • Make a “swap.” Replace one expense in your budget with the intended donation. e.g., Instead of spending $15 every week on takeout, skip one week and donate the $15 to a food shelf. 
  • Do a “match.” For every amount you spend on one item, commit to donating the same amount. e.g., If you spend $25 on non-essential clothing, donate another $25 to a local shelter or coat drive.
  • Set up a “sinking fund.” Put money aside each month in a separate sinking fund that is available whenever needed for giving (this is an especially helpful strategy if you want to be prepared to give during a crisis).

📝 I want to contribute $ _______ every ____________.  My plan is to  ________________________.

e.g., I want to contribute $10 every month. My plan is to swap one of my streaming services for this gift instead.

What if I am unable to contribute financially?

Generosity is a mindset, not a dollar amount, and there are countless ways to give.

  • Inquire about volunteer opportunities. Search for opportunities on sites like HandsOn Twin Cities.
  • Amplify their message. Engage with charities on social media or tell your friends about their work!
  • Recognize the gifts you are already giving. Any time you spend time or energy supporting others without expecting anything in return, you are living generously. If that’s what you can contribute, that is enough.

Money Management E-Newsletter: November 2021