It’s that time of year again! Giving thanks, giving gifts, giving opportunities, and giving money. That sense of joy and compassion during this time of year is invigorating and we all want to take part. But, where do you start?

How do you choose who deserves your support?

Who gets your money?

How much can you afford, anyway? 

And, in the end, is your donation even going to matter?

Now, everyone’s answers are going to differ, but, when it comes to donations and charitable giving, every little bit counts. 

Let’s consider a donation to Second Harvest Heartland, for example. As the largest hunger relief organization in the Upper Midwest, Second Harvest can turn a $5 bill into 18 meals!

What if you donate $5 a day?

That’s $1,825 a year and 6,570 meals.

$5 a month?

$60 a year and 216 meals.

$5 a year?

Almost an entire week of meals for someone who was hungry.

See? Either way, you’re making a difference. The most important part of this equation to remember:

Find something that feels good and works for you!

To start making a difference, you just need to:

Identify the organizations that matter to you. There are so many non-profits out there that this can be overwhelming. Consider our Charities of Choice:

Affinity Plus Foundation

Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota

Special Olympics of Minnesota

American Red Cross -Minneapolis

Second Harvest Heartland

Wherever your heart lies, make sure that the organizations and causes you are giving your money to, actually do what they say they do! Check out the Better Business Bureau’s Basic Giving Tips and Charity Navigator for reassurance.

Figure out how much you can afford. This can be as easy as defining a dollar amount you want to give and forking it over. It could also mean that you may need to dig through your budget, to create a savings plan, then to implement and adhere to that plan. Following through with the latter strategy may take more commitment, but the outcome could prove to be more beneficial for all parties involved. Taking a long-term approach means your pocketbook doesn’t take such an immediate hit AND you may be able to give much more than you would if you committed to a one-time donation. Affinity Plus can offer you a more personalized approach to saving and budget planning.

Get creative. In fact, it’s often encouraged! There are plenty of different ways to ensure you meet your giving goals, but only a few may work for you. To start you off, Doing Good Together offers some unique ways to give back. If you’re looking to have some fun with saving on your own, check out ImpulseSave’s Blog

Remember: Many financial institutions and cooperatives offer helpful ways to save and make donations.  Affinity Plus offers a Stash-Your-Cash option to help save your pennies and a unique Participation Rewards Points program allowing you to turn points into dollars for our Charities of Choice. 

Most importantly, make the time to give back whatever way possible. Whether it’s monetarily, goods and services, or simply your time, there’s always someone out there in need of a little help. You could be the one to change their world. “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
Winston Churchill