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Unique ways to make charitable donations within your budget

Posted March 4

 (Deseret Photo)

Perhaps those commercials by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have tugged at your heartstrings.

Maybe your eyes watered when you saw the puppies trembling behind a chain link fence. Maybe that prompted you to pull out your wallet while Sarah McLachlan pleads for you to save the pitbull cradled in her arms — only to realize you had no spare cash to give.

Don't feel bad. Remember the old saying, "Take care of yourself first or you will have nothing left to give others”?

By following that advice you can discover ways to find some extra cash or time, no matter how small the amount, for charity. Here are some tips to consider:

The tradeoffs

As you budget your monthly income and fixed expenses, add up the amount of disposable income you have for your more flexible expenses like food, clothing, entertainment or other personal items.

And if you want to include a charitable donation to that list, you will need to make some tradeoffs, wrote Laura Vitto with Mashable.

"What will you trade off to be able to contribute an extra $25, $35 or $50 to charity every month?" she wrote. Maybe it's cutting back on fast-food runs to make room for a donation to the American Heart Association.

Choose carefully

The choices of where to donate can be overwhelming.

Laura Shin with LearnVest suggests picking a nonprofit with a mission that matches your values. It may be as familiar as your house of worship or the local food back, or it could be global relief organization.

In deciding whether to donate to more unfamiliar charities, try websites like Guidestar.org or Charitynavigator.org to compare different organizations and how they use donations.

Find alternatives

If your budget prevents you from donating money, there are ways you can contribute to organizations without paying an extra dime. Thepennyhoarder.com listed several websites, extensions and apps that allow shoppers to donate a percentage of their online purchases to charity.

Check to see if your employer has programs that will match your donation of money or services to local charities. Double the Donation has a list of employers with such programs.

In-kind donations

Still no money for donations? Then consider cleaning out your closets and donate your unneeded items to a local thrift that serves low-income residents.

Another option is giving some time at a local animal shelter, serving food at a soup kitchen or picking up garbage at a park.

Mariana Chrisney is a writer with Deseret News

Email: mchrisney@deseretnews.com

Twitter @MariChrisney

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