A question that people often ask when the learn of the benefits of giving to a charity is, “how much?” Well, there’s no right or wrong answer to this question, but the short answer is: as much as you can without neglecting your debts, expenses, savings and investments. Ideally, you should spend about 50-60 percent of your income in the expenses and debts category, and then the rest should be split between savings, charity, investment and fun. You can always play with the numbers a bit, but each category needs to be near or over 10%, or else you’re likely neglecting it.
The 10% Rule
There is a rule that most churches will cite if you asked them how much of your income you need to be tithing them, or giving to charity, and that is what I call the 10% rule. That rule says that you should be donating 10% of your income to charity, at all times. Now, this is most certainly not true. Nobody likes to be told how to spend their money. I know I don’t, and I’m certain that you don’t. You don’t have to follow this “rule”.
The way I see it, 10% is a very healthy guideline. Obviously, you can’t always just immediately start out there. Most people these days are over-extended and can’t just suddenly begin donating 10% of their income. Again, if your donating 10% of your income to charity would bring either your savings, investment or fun expenditures to zero, you don’t need to be donating all 10% to charity without re-arranging your expenses in some way to compensate and allow them all to sit near or above 10%.
Use Your Feelings As A Guide
This is probably one of the most “woo-woo” thing I’ll say in this particular article. Your feelings are an important guide to help you decide how much you can give away. If you feel bad doing it, don’t! It’ll only hurt you if you feel bad while you’re giving. If you feel good doing it, do it! It can only help you if you feel good while you’re giving money away. You’ll likely see a massive return on your investment in either spiritual terms or even material terms. This is the most important guide to follow when deciding how much to give.
Give regularly. Don’t make it routine, but make it regular. Decide on a set percentage, and then either have that set aside in a savings sub-account for the express purpose of giving to a charity or two of your choice, or have it automatically sent to one or more charities through an auto-pay feature that most banks come with these days. If you realize that you’ll be more likely to do it if you make it so that you have to opt-out, rather than actually decide when and then actually do the action of donating, then you’re using your own laziness for your own good.
Remember when trying to determine how much to give to charities that the 10% rule is a guideline, you should always listen to your feelings about how much to give, and you need to give regularly. This will allow you to give to the charities that you want to give to in amounts that will actually allow them to do something with your contribution.