Mobile-assist dog, Lilly, from Can Do Canines.
Every year the first week of August is designated as International Assistance Dog Week (IADW). This year it runs from August 2 – 8.
As a long time supporter and volunteer at Can Do Canines, a local non-profit dedicated to providing assistance dogs to people living with disabilities in our community, this week is always a great reminder for me to find ways include giving in my financial planning.
Below are three easy ways to include charitable giving in your financial plan without breaking the bank.
Workplace giving. Many employers allow employees to contribute to their favorite charity through a simple deduction from their paycheck. Some will even match your contribution dollar-for-dollar. The $5 or $10 you donate each pay period may not sound like much, but it adds up. Last year over $80 million was raised by the Greater Twin Cities United Way, much of it through payroll deductions and corporate matching programs. Depending on where you work other programs like the Combined Federal Campaign or Community Shares of Minnesota may provide similar opportunities.
Include your favorite charity in your will or estate plan. As they say, you can’t take it with you. So what happens with your money when you are gone? Your beneficiary documents determine who gets your IRA and other retirement assets when you die. For most people this means their family, and rightly so. But you can still throw a bone to your favorite dog-related or other charity by naming them as a partial beneficiary on your IRA or 401(k). Naming a specific charity as beneficiary on your retirement plan ensures that those dollars go directly to them pre-tax, without having to go through your estate first where they will surely be taxed.
Volunteer. Not everyone can afford to make a financial gift, but we all have something to offer. Most non-profits have plenty of volunteer opportunities. Here are a few examples:
Can Do Canines always needs of short and long-term puppy raisers, professionals with legal, financial or human resources experience, and creative people with experience in marketing, video production, graphic design, etc.
Feed My Starving Children has opportunities to pack food and feed others. You can volunteer as an individual or as part of a group. If you are especially ambitious you can organize a mobile packing event at your church or workplace.
Twin Cities in Motion, organizer of the Twin Cities Marathon and other local running events, has over 6,000 volunteer opportunities each year. Can’t stomach a marathon? No problem. Volunteer instead. You get to be a part of the fun and excitement without having to experience the thrill of hurling on the side of the road during the final mile – not exactly a bucket list item for most people.
Looking for a bigger commitment? Consider MAP for Non-Profits. They will pair you up with organizations looking for a board member with your skill set. Board membership is not only a great way to volunteer but also a great opportunity to have some influence with an organization you are super passionate about.
Opportunities to give through service are endless. And they are as critical to most non-profits missions as the financial gifts they receive.
Giving can be an important and rewarding part of your financial plan. Now you know three easy ways to make it happen.