Our first post in the #SmallSteps series we talked about giving your physical change to those in need of it. This week we are going to jump into ways you can give your digital change.
First of all, what is digital change? That’s the cents left to make a full dollar when you buy something using digital money like using a credit card or Google Wallet or something similar, or even the change left on the dollar on money transfers for things like paying your bills.
Saving to Give
I like to manually put all that digital change into my charity savings account. What is a charity savings account? Well, most online banks- and traditional banks that offer online banking like Navy Federal Credit Union (my own bank)- let you have more than one savings account. I take advantage of that to have a set up a series of digital savings accounts much like my great grandparents would have used the envelope budgeting system for their physical cash. I’ve found that digital envelope budgets work best for me as an author with an irregular income flow. You could also just use one savings account and use an app to figure out your envelop budget for you, like YNAB, but I avoid those because I don’t like paying to save money AND because they confuse me a little. Yep, even people like me who play with budgets for funsies can get confused by some budgeting systems, so I say do what works best for you.
Not good at saving for charity yourself?
There’s an app for that. Actually, there’s several. Here’s a quick list of just a few of them. The point is that if you aren’t so great at filling up your charity savings on your own, you can get help for that.
Money to Charity
Once you’ve been saving up your digital change for awhile you eventually are going to want to give it away to people (or animals, or our planet, or whatever your passion project is) in need. This can happen monthly if you spend a lot, or yearly if you have little to give and want to give a heftier gift, but it feels good either way to not spend it on yourself and give this money you set aside away.
Besides, who knows. Maybe some day you’ll benefit from the giving nature of others and will want to give back as well to pay it forward.
Where to Give
I myself give money to a homeless shelter, youth homeless shelter, LymeLight Foundation for chronic Lyme Disease patients, food pantry, and Cru. These particular choices follow causes that are personal and dear to me and fit my identity as a person. Maybe for you a different type of organization would fit your ethos better than these. I think it is worth it to take the time to do a little research about the charities that best fit your identity and passion projects in the world, and do a little more research to make sure you are supporting a charity that is doing what you think it is doing- some famous charities like Wounded Warrior Project or Susan G Komen for The Cure focus more on educating the public on problems and give little, if any, to those in need themselves, which is still a useful thing to do but people often end up disappointed because they mistakenly assumed all charities actually give money to those in need while that is not actually all charities’ goals. No matter what you do, though, be sure to give somewhere and someway. If you need the quick and easy approach to finding a reputable charity that gives to a category you care about check out Charity Navigator– or even give to Charity Navigator itself!
Still having trouble deciding where to donate? Next week’s post will help give you ideas!
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