Author Topic: Do you volunteer or give to charity?  (Read 14464 times)

OSUBearCub

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Re: Do you volunteer or give to charity?
« Reply #50 on: September 30, 2014, 01:29:39 PM »
I donate quite a lot of my time (homeless shelter, women's shelter, weekly school program for children in need).  Because I'm not FI, my monetary donations are slim.  I budget $50 per year for my niece's Parent Teacher Association fundraisers because her school is over crowded and under funded - and try saying no to an excited 6 year old with a glossy fundraiser booklet. 

Philociraptor

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Re: Do you volunteer or give to charity?
« Reply #51 on: October 21, 2014, 12:49:24 PM »
Donate?  Goods we no longer use or need?  Yes.  Why?  tax deduction and gets rid of clutter.

Money?  Not much, unless a friend is participating in a fund raiser, e.g. bike for MS.  Why?  I basically donate through the federal taxes I pay.  When I look at all the aid provided by the federal govt, I conclude that I have already given.

Volunteer?  Haven't yet, but with more free time I am considering tutoring kids in math.  Why?  because I like math and may transition to tutoring for $$ and/or becoming an actual math teacher.

This almost exactly describes me as well.  Also, once in college I grew my hair out to donate for cancer kids. Oh yeah, and I donate 2 units of red blood cells every 16 weeks or so.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2014, 02:42:09 PM by Philociraptor »

solon

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Re: Do you volunteer or give to charity?
« Reply #52 on: October 21, 2014, 12:55:41 PM »
We give 10% of net income along with volunteering time, though that is more rare.  I'm part of a mentoring organization in my town that teaches kids about money as well.  Think big brothers/big sisters but with financial learning and rewards.  Kids get money for classroom behavior, attendance and, most importantly, grades.  About $100-200 a semester (increases as they get older).  They automatically have to save half in a local credit union.  The other half they get on a prepaid debit card and we (as sponsors) go on a shopping trip twice a year.  From their remaining money they can save more, give to a charity or spend.  A lot of the kids end up spending on necessities, which is nice and sad at the same time.

When they graduate high school with no arrests and no suspensions/expulsions, they get the other half of their money (typically $2-3k).  In high school they'll have been taught about credit and how to utilize the money in the best way for them. 
 
My part has been as a mentor (a few hours a night, 2-3 nights a week), and as an occasional volunteer for group activities (financial lessons being the one I like).  Pretty fun experience, and from what I understand fairly unique in the US.

What organization is this? Sounds like something I could be involved in!

GumbyPickles

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Re: Do you volunteer or give to charity?
« Reply #53 on: October 21, 2014, 01:08:33 PM »
$25/mo until I'm FI.  Then I want to give much more, but it doesn't make sense until such time.

thedayisbrave

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Re: Do you volunteer or give to charity?
« Reply #54 on: October 21, 2014, 01:21:07 PM »

Before or after they reach financial independence?

I see why people (myself included) don't want to give money to charity before financial goals are reached. I figure once I'm not longer fully reliant on wages from a job and have all the free time I want, then I can really devote my time to something that would be worthwhile. I would only ever volunteer my time, I would not give any money away.

However, I do come from a capitalist type mentality and don't particularly like giving handouts to people as general rule.
+1.  I spent quite a bit of time volunteering through high school & college.  Generally I don't give money unless it is to support a friend's cause or if something disastrous happens (ie Katrina).  I am working my way to FI and once I am there, I plan to use my extra time to really volunteer.  I feel that my time & energy will go WAY further than money can, but in order to free up that time/energy I need to reach FI first.   

Audrey Hepburn has said, "You have two hands - one for helping yourself, the other for helping others."  I try to keep that in mind all times.  FI & giving to others are not mutually exclusive but there is a prioritzation there.

coffeehound

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Re: Do you volunteer or give to charity?
« Reply #55 on: October 21, 2014, 01:45:05 PM »
For those that donate money, does the tax deduction figure prominently in your calculations for whether to donate?

I am of the belief that charitable giving (of which I do very little) is dishonest and unpatriotic when used as a tax deduction.

It was explained to me before that tax deductions exist to get people to donate more for their earmarked causes than the government can support through collecting all it can in the general fund, but I forgot and did not understand the particulars.  If any of you can explain how charitable deductions increase contributions more than higher taxation, please let us know.

Who provides for your everyone's safety and well being?  The government via our taxes and our politicians.  At its best, the government should allocate resources in the most beneficial way.  Unfortunately that may not be the reality, but it is up to us to change that.

Tax deductions, while a nice benefit, don't motivate my giving.  I give to the institution where I work, because it's good to be able to say, "I hope you'll join me in supporting X."  I donate to NPR because I am clownish in my commuting, and listen to it a lot.

Most folks I've talked to who give "major" gifts of $50K plus say that the tax incentive plays little to no role in their giving.  The deduction simply doesn't matter that much to folks who have the capacity to give in those amounts (bless them and their generosity).

El Marinero

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Re: Do you volunteer or give to charity?
« Reply #56 on: October 21, 2014, 02:38:37 PM »
I usually give unneeded, but usable books/clothes/houseware to Goodwill, which is much better suited to turning them into usable cash than I am.  If I were struggling with debt, I might be tempted to hold a garage sale - but I'm not, so I don't

I give money to a handful of charities that are close to my heart.

I also give my life's blood to the Red Cross (but only a pint at a time).  I've spent enough time in cancer centers to know it makes a difference. That is probably the most meaningful, and selfless of the donations I do. Takes some time, and hurts a bit.  Definitely not motivated by tax deductions,either.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2014, 02:47:15 PM by El Marinero »

more4less

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Re: Do you volunteer or give to charity?
« Reply #57 on: October 21, 2014, 02:46:18 PM »
I donate stuff to Salvation Army every year (helps to write off few bucks in tax season). I volunteered for their Christmas meals delivery program for elderly. Also recently I've sent some money to Russia to help Ukrainian refugees.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2014, 02:48:16 PM by more4less »

Dicey

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Re: Do you volunteer or give to charity?
« Reply #58 on: October 21, 2014, 03:01:35 PM »
We do a lot of both. The coolest thing about being FI and RE is that we can do even more than we used to. Win-win. One thing we're mindful of is that we give money to the same groups that we volunteer for, so we can direct our money to the areas of greatest need.

Here's a thing we do that I love: We have a line item for "Random Asks". We set aside $1000. Anyone who asks for something that we think is cool/legit/worthy (relative/neighbor/friend's kid/friend-of-friend/disaster relief, etc.) we write a check for $100. If, by the end of the year, we haven't used it up, we add it to our giving to one of our volunteer affiliations. It's kind of fun to surprise people with an unexpected Benjamin.

Catbert

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Re: Do you volunteer or give to charity?
« Reply #59 on: October 21, 2014, 03:08:50 PM »
I donate blood every 8 weeks (9+ gallons).  I thought when I retired I'd donate time to worthy charitable but a/I'm too busy and b/I don't really like dealing with people (36 years in HR will do that to you.)

I hate, hate, hate getting on mailing lists for charities or anything else for that matter.  When I worked I donated through work payroll deduction (Combined Federal Campaign).  Charities never knew my name.  Now I donate appreciated stock through Fidelity Charitable Gift Trust.  I get the tax deduction but don't have to pay capital gains on the stock appreciation.  The charities have the name of my "trust" but I don't have to give them my address.

lexie2000

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Re: Do you volunteer or give to charity?
« Reply #60 on: October 21, 2014, 04:22:20 PM »
We are not volunteering a lot currently, but in our day we've done more than most:  little league coach, room mom, team mom, feed the hungry programs, led a teen youth group program for several years, Relay for Life, Special Olympics, etc. 

Over the years we've also contributed to several different charities:  church, food pantries, animal charities, disaster relief charities, cancer and Alzheimer charities, etc.

Currently we are only involved with/give to an endowment that provides scholarships to vets.     

El Marinero

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Re: Do you volunteer or give to charity?
« Reply #61 on: October 21, 2014, 04:41:36 PM »
I hate, hate, hate getting on mailing lists for charities or anything else for that matter.

This does give me pause when I hear of a new charity that I might be inclined to support.  It does tend to keep me donating to the usual suspects.  The worst is when you know they've sold your contact information to other entities.

libertarian4321

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Re: Do you volunteer or give to charity?
« Reply #62 on: October 21, 2014, 04:52:25 PM »
A big part of being a Mustachian is efficiency.  So I try to give in the most effective way possible, through large corporations that have some positive data behind them and to people living in extreme poverty.  Peter Singer's The Life You Can Save really influenced my giving, it answers many of the questions about giving without hurting communities (hint: building a well helps everybody, giving away free food shipped in from the USA is not so great for local farmers). 

I give 10% of my income to charity and some more to nonprofits that I benefit from.  I don't consider giving to nonprofits that provide me with services to be charitable giving.

Money?  Not much, unless a friend is participating in a fund raiser, e.g. bike for MS.  Why?  I basically donate through the federal taxes I pay.  When I look at all the aid provided by the federal govt, I conclude that I have already given.

About 0.7% of the US budget goes to foreign aid, and that's the shipping in food from the US type of aid.

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/201974-the-top-myths-about-us-foreign-aid

I was thinking about assistance within the U.S., i.e. food stamps, welfare, etc.  Non-tax status for many entities that have lots of revenues, etc. subsidies to farms.  This link has a good breakdown:

http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=1258

Safety net programs: About 12 percent of the federal budget in 2013, or $398 billion, supported programs that provide aid (other than health insurance or Social Security benefits) to individuals and families facing hardship.


The Federal budget is about 3.7 Trillion, so 12 percent is 444 Billion.  Someone earning 150k could easily pay 30k in taxes, $3600 of which went to safety net programs.  I don't mind it, except when I hear about people spending it on trips to Hawaii (http://articles.latimes.com/2010/oct/04/local/la-me-welfare-20101004), but it does make me feel like I have already given.

For foreign aid, 0.7% is about 26 Billion...not chump change either.

That's $210 from our $150,000 a year earner. 

I think that US aid money is given out in inefficient ways.  A lot of good can be done by donating overseas to improve the lives of people living on under $1.25 per day.  There are many charities that create renewable resources in communities (clean water, education on health and birth control) in a way that improves peoples lives for generations.  If you choose not to help these people, that's one thing, but I don't think that you can say you're already helping them.

That $210 could do far more if sent to Kiva.org (which someone mentioned previously) or an efficient charity, rather than sent down the Federal rat hole.

In answer to the original question, we give both time and money (donating a lot more time lately since I was furloughed a couple of months back).

RNwastash

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Re: Do you volunteer or give to charity?
« Reply #63 on: October 21, 2014, 08:36:46 PM »
We donate 10% of our net income to our various charities: kid's high school groups, church, have two "adopted" children through World Vision and Unbound, the Patient Help Fund at my work, Community Food Bank, Homeless Shelter, and other various organizations.  We also donate household goods to the Rescue Mission/Goodwill/Salvation Army to keep control of clutter. 

I wish I could donate more of my time, but I find working full time and taking my kids to their various activities barely leaves time to myself.  When my house is paid off, I'll go part time and volunteer more= my long term goal.