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Pic: Clare Arni

Young Professional? How To Budget for Charity

SO you’re a young professional who’s getting the hang of the financial side of this strange business of ‘adulting’. You get this nagging feeling that you earn enough and ought to  contribute to a cause as part of your monthly budget.

But you have trepidations. Where do you donate? How do you know it’s legit? And how do you know that you’re actually creating an impact? These may seem like daunting questions, but when it comes down to it, your efforts are minimal when compared to the awesome results they create.

Here is a basic checklist to make sure you’re on the right path to begin contributing.

  1. You have a steady, reliable source of income.
  2. You set aside money separately to pay bills and for long term savings.
  3. You have money to spare every month after paying your bills and making your savings.

If you just checked all the criteria, congratulations! You are among a rising population of Indians that believe in donating time and money to philanthropic pursuits. The number of givers in India has grown by over 100 million since 2009 – and continues to grow.

Giving to charity may seem like a lot of work to the unfamiliar, but it’s way easier than you think. It can be as simple as diverting funds spent on that one night’s drunken binge (which you inevitably regret the next day) to a cause that you’ve found does impactful work.

Do Your Intel

The next step to planning your charity budget involves taking stock of what causes really resonate with you. Environment, education, disaster management and rural development are a few examples. Maybe you want to help back a photojournalist who is committed to bringing reportage from the rural pockets of the country? Perhaps you want to give to a cause that empowers marginalised communities? Either way, your job is to look online and offline to find a legit organisation. Here are some ways to make sure that you’ve found one.

  • The organisation is registered officially under the Societies Registration/Trust Act or as a Section 25 company.
  • You can see clear evidence of their impact. Videos, photos, testimonials, press coverage and more.
  • There is transparency in their dealings, and they share information such as their legal documents and annual financial reports openly.

Use Tech, Maximize Timelines

How often you want to contribute to a cause is another factor that helps you stay effective when planning your charity budget. If you’d like to set up an automated monthly donation to one cause or a rotation of causes, your bank can help you set that up online with a few simple, one-time instructions.

If not, you can always put aside a portion in a recurring deposit (RD). Once you save up a sizeable amount, you can contribute it all at once. Most organisations do a round of fundraising at a certain time in the year. With an RD, you are always ready for this time. This also makes things easier when the taxman comes calling and you need to declare your annual investments and contributions.

But What About My Impact?

The cool thing about a lot of modern philanthropy is that is doesn’t require you to be a completely passive witness to the process. If you just do a quick internet search you’ll find many organisations where you can track the progress of your contribution or even get involved with work on the ground if that’s how you prefer to do things. Can’t find any? We’ve got you covered, here are a few that you might be interested in!

Get Started Here

  • Websites like SmallChange.ngo work with transparent, accredited NGOs and are a great place to find worthy causes. You can now donate ‘in memory of’ someone, as well as give gift donations on the platform.
  • Akshaya Patra’s children meal plans can feed a child for a whole year for a contribution of under 1,000.
  • GiveIndia will recommend causes for you based on the amount you’d like to donate.
  • PARI is committed to reporting stories from rural India and need support for equipment and stipends.

Eventually, the best contributions are ones you can look back on as great investments. Investments in organisations that consistently make a difference and a have a larger societal impact over time.

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