Giving to Church or Charity

Some people are passionate about tithing for their church or supporting their favorite charities.  If they suffer a financial crisis, these people have some very difficult budget decisons to make.  It's critical to remember that your support of a church or charity does not have to be financial.  There are many other ways you can provide support, at least until your financial situation improves. 

Donate your time.  Time is a valuable asset that you may take for granted. What you do with your time can make a big difference in many people’s lives. There are many creative ways to volunteer your time. Talk to a volunteer coordinator at your church or community organization to learn more about opportunities for helping with:

  • Church youth groups
  • Religious education
  • Food banks
  • Homeless shelters
  • Soup kitchens
  • Church events/activities/jobs
  • Nursing homes

Donate your talents.  You may have a unique skill or ability that could assist a local church or charity, such as:

  • Teachers – Tutoring or Sunday school
  • Knitting/sewing – Making mittens and scarves for children
  • Accountant – Help with taxes or financial advice
  • Medical/Dental – Free screenings for children
  • Attorney – Provide pro bono (free) legal representation or advice

Donate items.  Most people have items that would be appreciated by someone less fortunate. Consider going through your closet, basement and garage to find items to give away.  Here are some ideas: 

  • Computers are a great donation because many people cannot afford them.

  • Clothing can benefit people of all ages.
  • Furniture can be given away or donated to larger charities like St. Vincent de Paul or Salvation Army.
  • Electronics like televisions and CD players can be given away.
  • Appliances (small and large) can be helpful in any household.
  • Tools can be costly, so many households don't have them.
  • Toys are appreciated by children of all ages.
  • Your hair can be donated to charities that make wigs for cancer patients.
  • Cell phones can still be used for 911 even if there is no service attached to the phone.

Not only does donating help people, but it is also a great excuse to clean out cluttered areas of your home. Keep in mind that items you donate can be tax-deductible if you obtain a receipt.  Be sure to discuss the details and benefits with your tax professional.