Leveraging Charitable Donations   Leave a comment

Every year in November, my co-workers and I get lots of reminders that we have until the end of the month to submit our charitable contribution matching forms for the year. I don’t know how common it is for companies to match their employees donations to charitable organizations, but it comes to mind now as a great offer to take advantage of if you are one of the lucky. Sometimes I feel silly sending in my piddly little check to be matched. It almost feels like there’s no point in matching such a small amount (relatively speaking). But then I remind myself that if I’m donating $40 to the scholarship fund, the fund is getting $80. It may still be a small amount, but it is less small.

The employer matching program is just one way that I try to leverage my charitable contributions. Another is a credit card that makes a donation to charitable organization(s) for every purchase that you make, or one issued by a community lending bank. A frequent topic (or side-topic) in personal finance blogs is shopping for rewards cards in such a way as to maximize your benefits. I, on the other hand, deliberately chose a credit card that gives charitable donations to a whole list of companies. (Although at some point in the last couple of years it also seems to have gained some kind of rewards points.) To me that is the reward: lots of charitable donations to a wide variety of organizations. Granted, some of them are organizations that I wouldn’t personally donate to, but when I vote each year on the amount that goes to each charity I just don’t vote for them. There’s at least one phone company (CREDO) that does the same for cell phones and long distance. And then there’s the list of over a thousand companies that participate in “1% for the planet” or some other kind of give-back. That’s a lot of ways to facilitate financial support for charitable organizations.

I also like the back-door method, which is to deliberately purchase products from companies that “do good”. That’s a major point for fair trade certification. That’s also one of the benefits to buying something made by someone locally rather than from a factory in a cheap-labor country. I consider that spending a little bit more on a product so that the producers make enough money to not need charity or other outside support, is a good thing.

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Posted November 8, 2011 by mayakey in fair trade, money

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