When & how much to donate?

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Karl773
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When & how much to donate?

Post by Karl773 » Thu Mar 02, 2017 9:33 pm

I know this forum is focused on finances but my question is more on philosophy of donations. I used to hear a saying, something like "save now and you can donate later in life after you've made your money".
Well I'm 44 not married no kids and no debt. Net worth approaching 1m. Annual income 90k. I still work a lot & feel I have more money than time. I want to donate to local causes in my town but question how much is right? I know the tax advantages but I'm just curious what people's thoughts are?

My plan is too donate $100 to five local nonprofits that I believe do good work as well as my normal $200 to a few nationals. Am I being cheap? Or am I being unwise and should invest?

livesoft
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by livesoft » Thu Mar 02, 2017 9:46 pm

They will appreciate your donations. I would not worry about the questions you asked.

You might increase to $250 each though because the recipient will surely send you a receipt.
IRS Publication 526 wrote:You can claim a deduction for a contribution of $250 or more only if you have an acknowledgment of your contribution from the qualified organization or certain payroll deduction records.

If you made more than one contribution of $250 or more, you must have either a separate acknowledgment for each or one acknowledgment that lists each contribution and the date of each contribution and shows your total contributions
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delamer
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by delamer » Thu Mar 02, 2017 9:48 pm

You will get a huge range of opinions on this, and none of them really matter.

Hiw much to give you charity is a very individual decision. Do what makes you comfortable.

Karl773
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by Karl773 » Thu Mar 02, 2017 10:00 pm

Thank you. I know that people will have a wide range of views, I just wonder at this stage & financial part of live what is smart?
I understand it's a personal preference but I'm just trying to get a grasp of when I made enough to be able to help worthwhile cause.

letsgobobby
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by letsgobobby » Thu Mar 02, 2017 10:13 pm

Karl773 wrote:Thank you. I know that people will have a wide range of views, I just wonder at this stage & financial part of live what is smart?
I understand it's a personal preference but I'm just trying to get a grasp of when I made enough to be able to help worthwhile cause.
OK, I'll bite.

You have enough to share some. What do you think about 3% of gross = $2700 per year or just over $200 per month? 3% is roughly the American average.

Zott
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by Zott » Thu Mar 02, 2017 10:37 pm

According to this article in the Motley Fool, the average charitable deduction in 2014 for returns with AGI of 75K to 100K was $3,356 or 3.8% of AGI.
https://www.fool.com/retirement/2016/11 ... ow-do.aspx

This only covers returns with itemized deductions--many will make contributions but not itemize. These would presumably be lower amounts, so the true average of everyone in that income group is probably lower than the amounts above.

On the other hand, I would suppose few people in your income range have a net worth of $1 million. So you can go up some and be well within average. I started slowly and gradually raised my contributions each year as I felt comfortable.

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Watty
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by Watty » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:35 am

Zott wrote:According to this article in the Motley Fool, the average charitable deduction in 2014 for returns with AGI of 75K to 100K was $3,356 or 3.8% of AGI.
https://www.fool.com/retirement/2016/11 ... ow-do.aspx

This only covers returns with itemized deductions--many will make contributions but not itemize. These would presumably be lower amounts, so the true average of everyone in that income group is probably lower than the amounts above.
Those numbers may be a bit misleading since it would include donations to churches, synagogues, mosques, etc that people attend. That may be a fine choice but that is a bit different than donating money to a non-religious cause.

Also be sure to check out the charity that you are giving to. Here are some tips on how to do it.

http://www.clark.com/clarks-charity-giving-guide

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BL
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by BL » Fri Mar 03, 2017 4:02 am

How close to tithing is painful? Maybe use that as your upper limit for consideration. Maybe start gradually increasing your giving, especially when you have some connection with the organization. I would give more to fewer organizations, to make a bigger splash.

As an example, I know several families living on mainly Social Security who give several thousand/year to our local small-town church. It would not survive without their generosity.

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corner559
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by corner559 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 5:25 am

Not to sound rude, but $100 to a charity at your income level and networth is absolutely being CHEAP. I also prefer to give more to just 1 or 2 charities then spread donations out over multiple charities because I know it will have a bigger impact.

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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by oldcomputerguy » Fri Mar 03, 2017 5:47 am

Karl773 wrote:I know this forum is focused on finances but my question is more on philosophy of donations. I used to hear a saying, something like "save now and you can donate later in life after you've made your money".
Well I'm 44 not married no kids and no debt. Net worth approaching 1m. Annual income 90k. I still work a lot & feel I have more money than time. I want to donate to local causes in my town but question how much is right? I know the tax advantages but I'm just curious what people's thoughts are?

My plan is too donate $100 to five local nonprofits that I believe do good work as well as my normal $200 to a few nationals. Am I being cheap? Or am I being unwise and should invest?
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Karl773
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by Karl773 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 6:34 am

I appreciate all the feedback. After federal and state income taxes and municipal property tax on my home and car my income is about 60k so I didn't think donating an estimated 1k was being "CHEAP". But I realize this is a personal decision and was trying to gauge other people's thoughts and ideas.
I have researched all the local non-profits as well as the nationals & am very comfortable with their work

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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by Daryl » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:01 am

Karl773 wrote:I appreciate all the feedback. After federal and state income taxes and municipal property tax on my home and car my income is about 60k so I didn't think donating an estimated 1k was being "CHEAP". But I realize this is a personal decision and was trying to gauge other people's thoughts and ideas.
I agree with you, to a certain extent. My financial contributions to charitable organizations are insignificant, both to me and the organization receiving them. Many would call me "cheap". What they don't often see; however, are some of the other ways I engage in other charitable endeavors. I spend a lot of time on the weekends rebuilding / rehabilitating homes for low income families. I serve as a IRS VITA tax preparer. I listen to my neighbors - those that live in the "nice" areas and those that live in areas devastated by systemic poverty. When I become too old to serve and give my time to these worthy causes, I'll probably make more significant financial contributions, because I believe in the work that they are doing and I'll want to continue supporting them.

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snowshoes
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by snowshoes » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:16 am

Uhmm, you could live to 100, become disabled, or experience extraordinary inflation. Money however, is a unerversal language and a multifaceted tool with no expiration date. I'd exercise caution given it away @ 44. Good luck!

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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by unclescrooge » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:23 am

corner559 wrote:Not to sound rude, but $100 to a charity at your income level and networth is absolutely being CHEAP. I also prefer to give more to just 1 or 2 charities then spread donations out over multiple charities because I know it will have a bigger impact.
Not to point out the obvious, but passing judgement about other people's good deeds is RUDE. And by rude, I mean impolite.

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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by sawhorse » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:53 am

Karl773 wrote:I appreciate all the feedback. After federal and state income taxes and municipal property tax on my home and car my income is about 60k so I didn't think donating an estimated 1k was being "CHEAP". But I realize this is a personal decision and was trying to gauge other people's thoughts and ideas.
I have researched all the local non-profits as well as the nationals & am very comfortable with their work
I'd consider it cheap IF that was the only thing you did. But as Daryl demonstrates, there are valuable non-monetary ways to donate. A lot of the small local charities would rather have more volunteers than someone chucking a couple hundred dollars at them.

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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by blinx77 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 8:10 am

Watty wrote:Those numbers may be a bit misleading since it would include donations to churches, synagogues, mosques, etc that people attend. That may be a fine choice but that is a bit different than donating money to a non-religious cause.
I respectfully disagree. Most churches, synagogues and mosques provide tremendous value to their community, both in the direct charitable relief that they fund and in the communal and spiritual support they offer the sick, lonely, depressed, anxious, etc. (and just generally everyone that attends). In most such organizations, anyone can attend without donating if they don't have the means or otherwise just don't want to.

Anyways I don't want to derail the thread so I am going to stop now and leave it at this, but I felt the need to chime in here to correct the record.

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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by MN Finance » Fri Mar 03, 2017 8:30 am

No judgement here. Just a couple thoughts

First, for us giving has to be personal and purposeful, otherwise it seems totally pointless. When I wanted to give something to the battered women's shelter, for ex, instead of sending them money, I called and asked what they wanted ... they said toys for the kids rooms. I took my kids shipping and spent 1k to outfit the rooms and the kids did most of the work. We don't want a pat on the back, but for us I bet we got more out of the experience than the charity.

Second, I think the dollar amt should matter a little. Not that it HAS to matter, but otherwise seems like a waste of everyone's time. 100 bucks is what ends up in salvation army kettles or birthday cards. I would want to feel challenged and stretch a little.

There's about zero chance you turn crazy and give too much to change anything in your financial life. Like holding a handful of sand, the tighter you hold, the less you retain. There's something liberating about giving (beyond the actual act) which changes your mindset around the purpose and use of money

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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by sawhorse » Fri Mar 03, 2017 8:32 am

blinx77 wrote:
Watty wrote:Those numbers may be a bit misleading since it would include donations to churches, synagogues, mosques, etc that people attend. That may be a fine choice but that is a bit different than donating money to a non-religious cause.
I respectfully disagree. Most churches, synagogues and mosques provide tremendous value to their community, both in the direct charitable relief that they fund and in the communal and spiritual support they offer the sick, lonely, depressed, anxious, etc. (and just generally everyone that attends). In most such organizations, anyone can attend without donating if they don't have the means or otherwise just don't want to.

Anyways I don't want to derail the thread so I am going to stop now and leave it at this, but I felt the need to chime in here to correct the record.
I agree. I'm more cynical about donations by mega-wealthy people to the general endowment of mega-wealthy universities than I am about donations to community programs at religious institutions. That doesn't mean that donating to a mega-wealthy university is bad of course. When you donate to your personal religious institution, you know the people that will be spending that money and can keep them accountable, so to say.

corysold
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by corysold » Fri Mar 03, 2017 8:37 am

What you give is entirely up to you. We give to our church automatically every Sunday. Every year, we up that donation by a small amount, maybe $5-10.

Might be something to consider, starting with where you are now, then adding a certain amount or percentage each year to your overall charitable giving.

mak1277
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by mak1277 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 8:37 am

I think starting with a "tithe" of 10% is a good way to approach giving. If you don't have a place of worship, pick two or three or five charities and "tithe" to them.

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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by krk878787 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 8:38 am

Again, I think arguing about "how much" one should be donating is pointless. The issue is far too complicated. There are some people who donate hundreds of hours a month for non-profits, and there are others who never step foot into one. How do you evaluate the value of that time? Do religious organizations count? Some say absolutely, others say absolutely not. Who really cares? My goal in life is to leave my communities better than I found them in every way that I can, you don't have to share or respect that goal, but hopefully you at least have one (a goal).

One additional suggestion that hasn't been mentioned yet is that there are charitable funds one can donate to. That is one of the things I'm currently doing. I donate some money every month to the fund, and watch it grow (because it is invested into stocks). Then I get to decide which charity receives those shares when. I'd also keep in mind the tax benefits of donating capital gains to charity. I hope those ideas help!

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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by Sheepdog » Fri Mar 03, 2017 8:44 am

This is a very personal decision. Our giving prior to retiring, in our saving for retirement years was very conservative. Our giving has increased dramatically since retiring and continuing to watch our nest egg grow as we aged. For example, we gave $2,500 IN 2000 and 2001 in early retirement and that has increased to $9,000 and $10,000 in 2016 and 2017. It is pleasing to be able to do that.
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by buckstar » Fri Mar 03, 2017 8:48 am

Congratulations on your success! You will receive no criticism from me, only encouragement. I would say donate as much or as little as you want, just donate something. The more strongly you feel about the cause, the more you and the cause will benefit.

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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by tim1999 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:13 am

To each their own. I donate about 1% of my income each year to a couple of charities and scholarship funds. Not much in my financial big picture but it's what I'm comfortable with. I also know people that donate 10% of their income to their church plus some more for charity. As well as my parents who have never ever donated anything other than ~ $25 per year to the local volunteer fire department over the last four decades despite being well off.

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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by wander » Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:14 am

I think it is nice that you are thinking about helping other people with donation. You can donate money or time and talent. You can always start small and increase more as time goes. How you give has more value than how much you give. Churches provide weekly financial reports. You can visit website of a local church to take a look at the bulletin for general idea.

Traveller
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by Traveller » Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:20 am

Good job deciding to give to charities.

I think giving is important not only because of the good you can do for others, but for what it does to you - it turns your attention and concern toward others instead of our natural tendency to be selfish.

Personally I have always given 10% as the minimum. This past year it was 16%.

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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by jbird11 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:28 am

You should not give so much that it hurts, you should give enough that you feel good.

10% is a pretty common # and one that I feel is reasonable once you successfully navigate some of the early roadblocks like debt and entry-level wages. I saw a good saying once that said, if you can't live functionally off of 90% of your income, you probably can't off of 100% either.

The national average for giving to churches is approx 3-4% of household income. That's my current plan (age 37), with a future goal increasing to 10% or more over the next 10-15 years.

Personally, if I were you, age 44, net 1M, 90K/year, I would be shooting to donate upwards of $6000 per year with the majority of mine going to the thing gives me the most joy & fulfillment, which is my church.

Karl773
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by Karl773 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:57 am

I knew this would be personal and that many would have varying opinions which is exactly what I was looking for.
I realize time spent volunteering is another way but my average time spent at work per week is 75 hours leaving me little time that I must use to tend to housework.
I also donate goods (last year est value of donated goods was 2.5k, furniture, electronics)
But with a gross income of 90k. Subtract income taxes, 401k & Ira contributions, property tax, health, home and auto insurance and I'm left with about 41k to pay bills. 6k would seem excessive?
Again I was just seeking people's thoughts and am reading every post and value your opinions. :sharebeer

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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:58 am

The biggest problem with donations - the recipient sells your name on a list to other organizations looking for donations. The recipient knows you donate or donated in the past, comes back to the well incessantly. Since I have a long way to go until retirement, since my family has more immediate needs, I give less. When or if my financial situation changes such that diverting more money to worthy organizations will not have a detrimental impact on my family, I'll do so. The incessant ringing of my phone and umpteen requests via mail will not be answered. That might sound cruel, but really, why can't organizations take your donation, say thank you and move on, what is the need to bombard and potentially turn off donors with the constant requests?

The OP should donate what he feels is an appropriate level for his own situation, asking an anonymous forum is going to give you a raft of opinions that range from outlandish to downright cheap.
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by Texanbybirth » Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:05 am

blinx77 wrote:
Watty wrote:Those numbers may be a bit misleading since it would include donations to churches, synagogues, mosques, etc that people attend. That may be a fine choice but that is a bit different than donating money to a non-religious cause.
I respectfully disagree. Most churches, synagogues and mosques provide tremendous value to their community, both in the direct charitable relief that they fund and in the communal and spiritual support they offer the sick, lonely, depressed, anxious, etc. (and just generally everyone that attends). In most such organizations, anyone can attend without donating if they don't have the means or otherwise just don't want to.

Anyways I don't want to derail the thread so I am going to stop now and leave it at this, but I felt the need to chime in here to correct the record.
Very well said, thanks for rebuking the previous poster.

OP, I think it's great that you want to start giving back. The poster above who listed what he does with his time is a fantastic example of ways people give in a non-monetary way. I realize you have a busy work schedule, so that may not be a viable option for you right now. However, as you get older (and gain more "wisdom" :D ) there are lots of young boys and girls who would be elated to have a caring mentor.

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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by Karl773 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:05 am

I agree with that. I donated to one national charity once and the floodgate was opened after that. Although the local non-profits have seemed more private and I am able to see a more direct "feel good" vibe as to what my donation is going to.

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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by LarryAllen » Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:09 am

corner559 wrote:Not to sound rude, but $100 to a charity at your income level and networth is absolutely being CHEAP. I also prefer to give more to just 1 or 2 charities then spread donations out over multiple charities because I know it will have a bigger impact.
I disagree. I make considerably more income and have a much higher net worth than the OP and I still give $100 to charities. I give to a lot of charities and yes sometimes I do give $500 or $1,000 or more at once but I think nothing wrong with $100 donations. Most non-profits are appreciative because the hundred dollar gifts add up! Just my opinion.

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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by simmias » Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:19 am

unclescrooge wrote:
corner559 wrote:Not to sound rude, but $100 to a charity at your income level and networth is absolutely being CHEAP. I also prefer to give more to just 1 or 2 charities then spread donations out over multiple charities because I know it will have a bigger impact.
Not to point out the obvious, but passing judgement about other people's good deeds is RUDE. And by rude, I mean impolite.
The OP explicitly asked for people to judge if he is being cheap, and when one person answered in the affirmative, he's RUDE?

Don't ask the question if you don't want to hear the answer.

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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by Karl773 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:34 am

I can except the answer because I was asking but I believe that reply was taking into account the person used all caps. Indicating yelling and trying to be demeaning (maybe, I don't know). Again, not seeking arguments just listening to peoples thoughts.
:happy

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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by flyingbison » Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:40 am

blinx77 wrote:
Watty wrote:Those numbers may be a bit misleading since it would include donations to churches, synagogues, mosques, etc that people attend. That may be a fine choice but that is a bit different than donating money to a non-religious cause.
I respectfully disagree. Most churches, synagogues and mosques provide tremendous value to their community, both in the direct charitable relief that they fund and in the communal and spiritual support they offer the sick, lonely, depressed, anxious, etc. (and just generally everyone that attends).
I think Watty's point (maybe I'm wrong though?) was that most of the money donated to churches, etc., by those who attend is used to benefit the donors. In other words, most of those donations pay for the cost of salaries and facilities to provide services to the ones who are donating.

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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by Atilla » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:01 am

Karl773 wrote:Again, not seeking arguments just listening to peoples thoughts.
:happy
I started giving regularly when I was up to my neck in consumer debt, separated and living in a 1 bedroom sublet apartment. It worked out just fine.

Give what you determine you want to and don't worry about it - you can always increase the amount later as you adopt a habit of regular giving and get used to the idea. I treat giving the same as paying bills, saving for retirement or balancing my checking account - it is done on a regular, planned basis every month.

My giving is local to two charities where I personally know the people running them, so there is a high level of trust. And I don't get unwanted solicitations from them or anyone else - they don't sell or give their donor names to anyone.

Regular giving has benefits that aren't obvious to people who don't do it. It's not a zero-sum game at all. :D
Last edited by Atilla on Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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BL
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by BL » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:10 am

Karl773 wrote:I know this forum is focused on finances but my question is more on philosophy of donations. I used to hear a saying, something like "save now and you can donate later in life after you've made your money".
Well I'm 44 not married no kids and no debt. Net worth approaching 1m. Annual income 90k. I still work a lot & feel I have more money than time. I want to donate to local causes in my town but question how much is right? I know the tax advantages but I'm just curious what people's thoughts are?

My plan is too donate $100 to five local nonprofits that I believe do good work as well as my normal $200 to a few nationals. Am I being cheap? Or am I being unwise and should invest?
At 90k, you are at least in the 25% tax bracket. If you itemize your donations, that means that the IRS is subsidizing your donations 25% and perhaps your state subsidizes as well. So you could probably up your contributions to actually be out of pocket a certain amount. (We don't itemize, so get no US government subsidy on giving, except our state does have an add-on subsidy which we use.)

As for churches, it varies but our church tends to give 10% to area, regional, national and international needs, most not directly connected to church. For example, local food shelves, high school prom all night parties (we have lost too many young people to car accidents), special needs in community, county social services, area homeless mission, and other national and international organizations.
Last edited by BL on Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by raymclean » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:14 am

MN Finance wrote:No judgement here. Just a couple thoughts

Like holding a handful of sand, the tighter you hold, the less you retain. There's something liberating about giving (beyond the actual act) which changes your mindset around the purpose and use of money
+1!

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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:23 am

sawhorse wrote:
blinx77 wrote:
Watty wrote:Those numbers may be a bit misleading since it would include donations to churches, synagogues, mosques, etc that people attend. That may be a fine choice but that is a bit different than donating money to a non-religious cause.
I respectfully disagree. Most churches, synagogues and mosques provide tremendous value to their community, both in the direct charitable relief that they fund and in the communal and spiritual support they offer the sick, lonely, depressed, anxious, etc. (and just generally everyone that attends). In most such organizations, anyone can attend without donating if they don't have the means or otherwise just don't want to.

Anyways I don't want to derail the thread so I am going to stop now and leave it at this, but I felt the need to chime in here to correct the record.
I agree. I'm more cynical about donations by mega-wealthy people to the general endowment of mega-wealthy universities than I am about donations to community programs at religious institutions. That doesn't mean that donating to a mega-wealthy university is bad of course. When you donate to your personal religious institution, you know the people that will be spending that money and can keep them accountable, so to say.
It depends on the church/religious-institution - before giving too much to a church (unless it is definitely directed to specific program) look at their finances and understand where your money is going. Some churches have to use most of their donations simply to keep the lights on, pay for the ministers, and pay their "assessment" to the mother church. (I used to give generously to a local church that I didn't attend assuming they had a lot of community outreach and then later found out that my donations where essentially subsidizing others that attended the church but weren't contributing enough to keep the lights on. This might be okay in a lower-income community - giving folks a place to go - but in my case I was simply subsidizing folks in an upper-class community that could probably afford to give more by helping them pay their ministry, mother-church assessment, and ongoing maintenance costs. I'm NOT saying this is always the case - simply that you need to look into where your money is really going.)

OP: Only you can decide what the right amount for you to give is. For some folks its 1% of income - for others 5% or 10% - for others a much smaller (or larger) amount.
Another observation: whenever someone starts a sentence with "Not to sound rude" they are about to be rude. There are some posts you just have to ignore.

Karl773
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by Karl773 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:30 am

Well said and I understand there is a comfort factor with how much to give. That said, this was something I never got to talk to my parents about before they passed. I knew they were of modest means but still had many donations. I'm just curious and enjoy hearing peoples views on the subject which has been helpful :beer

student
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by student » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:31 am

DaftInvestor wrote: Another observation: whenever someone starts a sentence with "Not to sound rude" they are about to be rude. There are some posts you just have to ignore.
+1. It is the same as someone starts with "With all due respect." In a similar way, a company puts you on hold for 30 minutes and keep repeating "Your call is important to us."

For the OP question, as others have already said, it is best to do what you are comfortable with.

ThankYouJack
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by ThankYouJack » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:41 am

Not to hijack, but here's a different angle:

I donate a small amount, but am considering donating more. We're currently on track to FI early. But my current concerns are:

1. Our parents may need a lot of financial assistance when they get older.
2. We have some job volatility
3. We don't waste much at all on ourselves as we try to be resourceful
4. We have about ~4% of our kids colleges funded
5. We may look to move in a year to a much higher cost of living area for better schools

So I would feel better becoming FI first and funding our kids colleges before significantly upping our donations. Thoughts?

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:The biggest problem with donations - the recipient sells your name on a list to other organizations looking for donations. The recipient knows you donate or donated in the past, comes back to the well incessantly. Since I have a long way to go until retirement, since my family has more immediate needs, I give less. When or if my financial situation changes such that diverting more money to worthy organizations will not have a detrimental impact on my family, I'll do so. The incessant ringing of my phone and umpteen requests via mail will not be answered. That might sound cruel, but really, why can't organizations take your donation, say thank you and move on, what is the need to bombard and potentially turn off donors with the constant requests?

The OP should donate what he feels is an appropriate level for his own situation, asking an anonymous forum is going to give you a raft of opinions that range from outlandish to downright cheap.
Good point. But couldn't you donate anonymously or set up a donor advised fund?

delamer
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by delamer » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:50 am

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:The biggest problem with donations - the recipient sells your name on a list to other organizations looking for donations. The recipient knows you donate or donated in the past, comes back to the well incessantly. Since I have a long way to go until retirement, since my family has more immediate needs, I give less. When or if my financial situation changes such that diverting more money to worthy organizations will not have a detrimental impact on my family, I'll do so. The incessant ringing of my phone and umpteen requests via mail will not be answered. That might sound cruel, but really, why can't organizations take your donation, say thank you and move on, what is the need to bombard and potentially turn off donors with the constant requests?

The OP should donate what he feels is an appropriate level for his own situation, asking an anonymous forum is going to give you a raft of opinions that range from outlandish to downright cheap.
I have used money orders purchased at the local grocery store to donate in the past. They are only 99 cents, and they allow me to donate anonymously. No phone calls, no e-mails, no snail mail solicitations.

I tend to agree with the earlier poster that If you ask people if you are being cheap and they tell you "yes" then you can't complain that they are being rude. That said, while I think the OP's heart is in the right place, I still not sure what he hoped to gain from asking in this forum how much he should donate. As expected, the responses are all over the place.

BogleMelon
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by BogleMelon » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:52 am

Donate as much as you feel happy and satisfied about it. No more, no less. IMHO, donations have to be aligned with one's cause. It is not something anyone has to do while fretting. if $100 feels the sweet spot for you, so be it. If more makes you feel more content, so do it.
If I were you I would start with small amount, and raise it every month until the point I see that more money no longer making sense for me and my budget.
"One of the funny things about stock market, every time one is buying another is selling, and both think they are astute" - William Feather

delamer
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by delamer » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:59 am

ThankYouJack wrote:Not to hijack, but here's a different angle:

I donate a small amount, but am considering donating more. We're currently on track to FI early. But my current concerns are:

1. Our parents may need a lot of financial assistance when they get older.
2. We have some job volatility
3. We don't waste much at all on ourselves as we try to be resourceful
4. We have about ~4% of our kids colleges funded
5. We may look to move in a year to a much higher cost of living area for better schools

So I would feel better becoming FI first and funding our kids colleges before significantly upping our donations. Thoughts?

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:The biggest problem with donations - the recipient sells your name on a list to other organizations looking for donations. The recipient knows you donate or donated in the past, comes back to the well incessantly. Since I have a long way to go until retirement, since my family has more immediate needs, I give less. When or if my financial situation changes such that diverting more money to worthy organizations will not have a detrimental impact on my family, I'll do so. The incessant ringing of my phone and umpteen requests via mail will not be answered. That might sound cruel, but really, why can't organizations take your donation, say thank you and move on, what is the need to bombard and potentially turn off donors with the constant requests?

The OP should donate what he feels is an appropriate level for his own situation, asking an anonymous forum is going to give you a raft of opinions that range from outlandish to downright cheap.
Good point. But couldn't you donate anonymously or set up a donor advised fund?
We were committed to fully funding their kids' undergraduate education. It was one of our top couple financial priorities. I would certainly not have spent large amounts of money on anything that would have jeopardized that, be it charity, vacations, cars, etc.

Others here will feel differently. There is no objectively correct answer.

Remember that Bogleheads is at core a group of people who subscribe to a particular investment philosophy. There are a lot of smart, knowledgable people here who I know I would not befriend in "real life" because their interests and priorities are 180 degrees different from mine. We would have nothing in common. So I take (and give) in the forum based on that perspective.
Last edited by delamer on Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

inbox788
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by inbox788 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:03 pm

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:The biggest problem with donations - the recipient sells your name on a list to other organizations looking for donations. The recipient knows you donate or donated in the past, comes back to the well incessantly. Since I have a long way to go until retirement, since my family has more immediate needs, I give less. When or if my financial situation changes such that diverting more money to worthy organizations will not have a detrimental impact on my family, I'll do so. The incessant ringing of my phone and umpteen requests via mail will not be answered. That might sound cruel, but really, why can't organizations take your donation, say thank you and move on, what is the need to bombard and potentially turn off donors with the constant requests?

The OP should donate what he feels is an appropriate level for his own situation, asking an anonymous forum is going to give you a raft of opinions that range from outlandish to downright cheap.
I can't stand the way charity has turned into a business, but it's survival of the fittest. It's catch-22. If they don't aggressively seek donations, they don't survive, but if they do, the aggravate the donors. I have been turned off by these tactics and donate less because of it. I make anonymous donations so I'm not hounded all the time.

Karl773
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by Karl773 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:11 pm

I tend to agree with the earlier poster that If you ask people if you are being cheap and they tell you "yes" then you can't complain that they are being rude. That said, while I think the OP's heart is in the right place, I still not sure what he hoped to gain from asking in this forum how much he should donate. As expected, the responses are all over the place.
[/quote]

I did not complain that someone was rude. That was a response by another poster. I asked for opinions regardless of what they may be.
Knowing thoughts would be all over the place was exactly what I hoped to gain. Knowledge from talking to other people to help me gain a better perspective as to where I stand with donations relative to other people

delamer
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by delamer » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:13 pm

Karl773 wrote:
I tend to agree with the earlier poster that If you ask people if you are being cheap and they tell you "yes" then you can't complain that they are being rude. That said, while I think the OP's heart is in the right place, I still not sure what he hoped to gain from asking in this forum how much he should donate. As expected, the responses are all over the place.
I did not complain that someone was rude. That was a response by another poster. I asked for opinions regardless of what they may be.
Knowing thoughts would be all over the place was exactly what I hoped to gain. Knowledge from talking to other people to help me gain a better perspective as to where I stand with donations relative to other people
No, you were not the complainer and I am sorry if I implied that you were.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:33 pm

ThankYouJack wrote:Not to hijack, but here's a different angle:

I donate a small amount, but am considering donating more. We're currently on track to FI early. But my current concerns are:

1. Our parents may need a lot of financial assistance when they get older.
2. We have some job volatility
3. We don't waste much at all on ourselves as we try to be resourceful
4. We have about ~4% of our kids colleges funded
5. We may look to move in a year to a much higher cost of living area for better schools

So I would feel better becoming FI first and funding our kids colleges before significantly upping our donations. Thoughts?

Agree totally with you. I don't know if I'm on track for early FI or regular or later, it all depends with employment - employer is making push to automate even the positions that require significant thinking ability. As on an airplane, first put on your oxygen mask, then kids, then if you still have time, help those who can't help themselves. My alma mater is constantly ringing my phone asking for money to fund scholarships, I get it, but who's going to fund my families immediate needs? There are some organizations that I currently give to that have a history of turning their backs when you ask for assistance after you've assisted in the past either via money and/or time. I won't name names, in my circle, it's well known and hence there has been less giving as a result - it's an unfortunate set of events, but if your mission is to be a social welfare charity and you fail to help those in need, then you've failed.
Grt2bOutdoors wrote:The biggest problem with donations - the recipient sells your name on a list to other organizations looking for donations. The recipient knows you donate or donated in the past, comes back to the well incessantly. Since I have a long way to go until retirement, since my family has more immediate needs, I give less. When or if my financial situation changes such that diverting more money to worthy organizations will not have a detrimental impact on my family, I'll do so. The incessant ringing of my phone and umpteen requests via mail will not be answered. That might sound cruel, but really, why can't organizations take your donation, say thank you and move on, what is the need to bombard and potentially turn off donors with the constant requests?

The OP should donate what he feels is an appropriate level for his own situation, asking an anonymous forum is going to give you a raft of opinions that range from outlandish to downright cheap.
Good point. But couldn't you donate anonymously or set up a donor advised fund?
Not many charities take cash, if you donate by credit card, they want your name. If you want a record for taxes, they need your name. I made the mistake of donating once to my alma mater, it was a small amount, now they constantly ring my phone (thank god for caller id), found my email - bombard that with donation blasts, have an alumni group at my employer and send me all kinds of requests that make the donations on this forum look cheap by comparison and the mailings (they would save money on postage if they just stopped). A donor advised fund means a large upfront donation to an account - some may have the means for that, I am not in that position to fund such an account. These are just examples, perhaps others have suggestions. The one charity I do know that doesn't harass or sell my name is Salvation Army, it's easy to slip cash money into those red kettles. And I'll do it frequently, because I see them helping in my neighborhood and surrounding region, they are visible.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

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FelixTheCat
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Re: When & how much to donate?

Post by FelixTheCat » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:34 pm

Karl773 wrote:My plan is too donate $100 to five local nonprofits that I believe do good work as well as my normal $200 to a few nationals. Am I being cheap? Or am I being unwise and should invest?
Congratulations on having a good heart! :D

My advice is open a Fidelity Donor Advised Fund. Contribute to it via appreciated securities. Grant to the charities you like. Fidelity even provides a report on High Impact Giving https://www.fidelitycharitable.org/guid ... pact.shtml
Felix is a wonderful, wonderful cat.

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