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The Joy Of Giving: How To Donate On A Budget

Posted: December 28, 2012

How to donate or support a cause while on a budget; 4 creative ways to have the joy of giving. 

By Prerna Malik

With the year drawing to a close, it is the perfect time to reflect, pause and introspect on the time gone by and be grateful for all our blessings, big and small.

Yes, there is something about the end of the year that makes us want to share, give, spread the love and enjoy the joy of giving. 

However, when you’re on a strict budget, one has to think of how to donate or support a cause. How can one contribute to society without busting the bank or eating into one’s own savings? The good news is “you can!”

Yes, you can give, share, donate and support a cause without spending too much or breaking the bank. Donating or giving to a cause has a lot of benefits:

– It helps to contribute in a small but significant way to improve the conditions of the underprivileged or neglected sections of society.

– It teaches our children the importance of sharing their blessings and raises them to be more compassionate.

– It makes us more grateful for what we do have and stops us from complaining about what we don’t.

– It is one of the easiest ways to feel positive and good inside.

Here are some ideas to spread the joy of giving at this time of the year:

1. De-Clutter and donate: A simple way to support a cause

This one is a personal favourite for our family. As we downsize and move towards a minimal yet functional life, we periodically de-clutter our closets, stationery and craft supplies and kitchen cabinets. In fact, we also have a one-in, one-out rule that ensures we don’t accumulate a lot of stuff.

Naturally, the things we de-clutter go into two boxes – donate and trash. Anything that is usable, in reasonable condition and may benefit a child or another adult goes into the donate box and is dropped off at the local Goonj centre.

You can do the same and de-clutter periodically and not just once a year. Give away items that are in reasonable, reusable condition to the local orphanage, charity, old age home or shelter.

2. The joy of giving the gift of time

Mumbai-based Reena Joshi is a busy mom and homemaker, but she takes out time once a week to teach basic reading and writing skills to domestic helps in her society. Joshi and a group of like-minded women give the gift of time to the underprivileged.

When you’re on a budget, sometimes, it is the things that don’t cost anything that matter the most.

How can you give the gift of time? We all lead busy, hectic lives but taking out an hour every week isn’t all that tough. Visit the old age home to just chat with the elderly and listen to their stories. Take the kids and go to the orphanage to distribute sweets, books or small toys and watch the joy light up small faces.

Yes, giving the gift of time is both free and priceless.

3. How to donate: Be consistent

You don’t have to give a lot for it to have a big impact. As the point above illustrated, just an hour can have a lot of good in it. Similarly, small acts of giving say, 100 INR a month to feed a child or 200 INR a month to keep a child in school for a year will not impact your budget a lot but will have lots of goodness for others if done consistently.

At CRY, you can enrol children into a government school and help them stay in school for as little as 1800 INR a year. That is not even 200 bucks a month. As Gurgaon-based entrepreneur Aditi Mehrotra says, “It is such a small amount but has a huge impact. Just give up pizza night once a month or your weekly coffee at Barista and see how wonderful it makes you feel!

4. Sharing your skills to support a cause

Finally, we all have some skills or talents that we can teach to others to make them self-sufficient.

Delhi-based Runa Sharma is a 60-year old grandmother who teaches knitting to women who work as labourers in her neighbourhood. It is the gift of time combined with the gift of talent.

By teaching them knitting, I hope that some of them will be able to start their own small business of making and selling sweaters or at least working with an NGO and make more money than they do now as daily wagers”, says Sharma.

Being a smart giver is not difficult or impossible. It is in fact, quite easy and has the huge benefit of making you feel all warm and good inside with the joy of giving. So, as we head into the New Year, make a commitment to give smartly, sensibly and make the world around us a happier, better place to be in.

How would you be giving or donating this year? Share with me in the comments and let’s make the world a more compassionate place.

*Photo credit: Mindful One (Used under the Creative Commons Attribution License.)

About the Author: Prerna Malik is the editor of The Mom Writes, a site for work-from-home moms and co-owner of Social Media Direct, a digital agency that offers quality, customized social media and web content solutions to business owners.

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