Many people have expressed a desire to donate money to people and organizations in need due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For many people, though, donating is easier said than done. If you find yourself wanting to donate but not always having the money to do so, follow these seven savings tips for budgeting for donations to keep your bank accounts balanced while helping out those in need.
1. Choose a cause
When it comes to COVID-19 donations, advice to choose a cause may seem unnecessary. After all, isn’t helping people in need due to the pandemic the cause? The answer isn’t a simple yes or no – instead, it’s a complex matter of whom you choose to help.
Many groups such as restaurant and bar workers, performing artists, and homeless people have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. You should thus decide which of these groups you’re most interested in helping when budgeting for donations. You can donate to more than one group, but your budget may dictate the number of groups to whom you donate or the size of the donations you make.
2. Set up a donation savings account
Once you’ve decided to whom you’d like to donate, set up a savings account into which you’ll deposit a budget-friendly, set amount of money to use toward donations. You should determine this amount based on how much you can realistically save rather than dipping into other necessary savings such as retirement to fund your donations. Chances are that you’ll have to give something up to make that happen.
3. Sacrifice some luxuries
You might not be able to reduce your monthly rent payments (and moving during COVID-19 can be challenging), but you can probably give up part of all of your spending on leisure items. If you know that you spend a certain amount of money on buying clothes, games, or other not entirely necessary items, set a maximum for this spending that allows you to funnel more money toward your donation savings account.
4. Make changes to reduce your utility and grocery bills
If you’re looking for ways to scale back your typical spending and expand your donation budget, you might have options beyond eliminating luxury spending. There are several ways you can potentially lower your monthly electricity bill, and some of them cost little to no money to implement. Likewise, there are several tips you can follow to reduce your heating or air conditioning bills.
Your grocery budget may be similarly flexible too. When you’re at the supermarket (or getting groceries other ways if you’re worried that grocery stores aren’t conducive to social distancing), you can make several choices that can lower your spending. As you cut back your spending on necessary items, you may find budgeting for donations significantly easier.
5. If possible, ask for employer donation matching
If you work for a large corporation, you may be able to make your donations more impactful. Many large corporations offer programs through which they match their employees’ donations to charitable organizations. If you want to give $20 per month to an organization of your choice and your employer offers donation matching, you can instead give $10 per month knowing your employer will cover the second half, allowing you to save more money or increase your donation budget.
Even if you don’t work for a large corporation, you can propose matching and budgeting for COVID-19 donations to your employer. People may be more willing than ever to make COVID-19 donations given the massive, pressing need.
6. Know that something is better than nothing
If you struggle to save money for COVID-19 donations, you might think that budgeting for donations isn’t worthwhile. Don’t get discouraged if your finances are tight: Donating even one dollar is better than donating nothing. With many people struggling to pay basic housing bills, small donations from many people can combine to make a huge difference.
7. Give without spending
If you can’t spend money on donations, give your time instead. Many organizations need volunteers to assist with essential tasks, some of which can be done from home, meaning you can help without spending money or potentially increasing your chances of COVID-19 exposure. Not all help comes in the form of money – as long as you care and put in the effort to help, you can make a difference.