How to Give to the Right Charity (Even if You Don't Have Money)

Find out the many different ways to ‘socially invest’ in worthy causes for high-returns of warm, fuzzy feelings!

So you’re earning a nice income and would like to give back to the community? Kudos to you! And as well to our local do-gooders who have placed Malaysia as one of the ten most generous countries in the world.

Helping those around you and making the world a better place is a noble use of your hard-earned money; here’s how you can provide charitable assistance to worthy causes:

Choose a Cause or Charitable Organization

Conduct research on the charitable organizations you intend to give to determine if they are indeed the real deal. Many scams pretending to be charities exist and you wouldn’t want your good intentions (and cash) lost in a swindle. Go online and review the charity of your choice before pledging any funds.

In addition, make a physical visit to the charity organization where possible and meet with potential recipients as well as administrators to better understand how you can help.

Look for official registration and licenses as well as an open book of the accounts. This way you’ll have an idea of where the money is going and a chance to see if a particular charity is in line with your principles.

Do check out HATI’s directory of reputable charity organizations and NGOs.

Decide on How You Will Donate

You can choose to give a one-off sum or sponsor a charity with recurring donations. Official organizations typically accept cash, credit, cheques, and some have even been set up to receive secure online banking payments.

How much you should donate depends on what you can afford, even a little can go a long way. Talk to charity administrators about a suitable amount and decide if you can give that much or more.

Remember to ask for a receipt to be issued for any cash donations you make, this will provide proof of contributions into the charity accounts as well as your own.

Bonus Tip: Although you probably aren’t being charitable merely for tax reliefs, donations to organizations approved by the government can be claimed to reduce your tax bill.

Other Ways You Can Help

If you don’t have extra cash but still want to be charitable, you certainly can! Here are few a non-money donations you can make to help those less fortunate:

1. Volunteer Your Time

Money isn’t the only valuable resource you can share; your time is precious too! Spending a couple of hours on the weekends at a senior home or children’s shelter can be a wonderfully fulfilling experience.

2. Donate Your Canned Goods and Other Household Items

If you are uncomfortable giving away money, you may also send food and other household items to homes for children, seniors and those differently abled. Canned and dry foods such as cereal, biscuits and powdered drinks can last longer, although it may not be the most nutritious of foods.

If you’re a good cook, try sponsoring healthy hot meals at the homes; it’s an affordable option for you and quite likely a more satisfying treat for your special diners.

3. Give Your Clothes Away

If your cupboard is overflowing with nice clothing that you can’t or don’t want to use any more, pack it up and send it to a charity. Other pre-loved stuff like bags, books, toys and electronic devices can be given to the Salvation Army but they do request for donors to avoid sending items which are “broken, damaged, torn, ripped, stained or in any way faulty”.

Your raggedy outfits and old newspaper can still be put good use at pet shelters like PAWS for kennels and cleaning; nothing has to go to waste.

4. Share Your Special Skills

Assist charitable organizations by putting your professional expertise to work for free. For instance, accountants can help manage books, graphic designers can help design fundraising leaflets and teachers can lend a few hours giving tuition classes for needy kids – there’s really no shortage on the ways in which one can help.

If you still want to give money, but don’t have enough, why not use your skills to raise funds for charitable organizations? Check out our article on part-time ways to make money to start earning more on the side and ‘do good’ with your proceeds.

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