How to Budget for Charitable Giving

Adam Gant highlights a few tips for budgeting when you want to give money to worthy causes.

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Cumulatively, billions of dollars each year flow from citizens to the charities they care about. Giving can be easy for those who have plenty of money. For those who have less spare change available, it can be a challenge. Regardless, everyone should give something back. Here are some ways to budget for charitable giving.


Those who are looking to give to charity should first choose where the money is going to go. It’s a good idea for people to prioritize giving to organizations that have missions that truly resonate with them and their personal values. Otherwise, there will not be as much incentive to give on a monthly or annual basis.


Popular personal finance writers Ramit Sethi and David Bach argue that saving should be automatic. Otherwise, there will be nothing left at the end of the month to save. Likewise, those who are looking to give to charities should make their donations automatic. This means listing them as a line item in a monthly budget. Charities that make monthly draws from a checking account or a credit card can make the process quite easy. Those who give only what’s left at the end of the month will likely have nothing left to give.


Providing for the needs of charitable organizations does not necessarily have to involve money. While all organizations need money to operate, there are other ways to give back. The most common of these options is giving time. Spending some time working toward the mission of a charitable organization can be a great way to help out even when finances are tight. It costs nothing monetarily, but giving time and effort can really help a charity achieve its goals.


Those who have quite a bit of wealth usually have it because they legally minimize the amount they pay to the CRA each year. One way to help out a charitable organization is through a gift of appreciated assets. Most commonly, this would involve a gift of a company’s stock. Those who sell stock for a profit can owe some hefty capital gains taxes. By giving stock to a charitable organization, the original owner will avoid some taxes, and the charity can benefit from a higher cost basis. These gifts will frequently provide some nice cash flow to charities through regular dividend payments.

Budgeting for charitable giving is important. Those who have little monetary wealth can benefit from giving back, and those who are wealthy can benefit from giving back while simultaneously cutting their taxes. Charitable organizations rely on gifts, and planned giving on the part of donors can allow them to plan for the future.

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