MANILA, Philippines - For most of us, Christmas is the season of plenty, what will all the abundance of good food and the exchange of gifts that usually highlight our celebrations. However, not everyone will have it as good as we will, especially our countrymen who were affected by recent natural calamities.
Christmas can be a good time to think of how we can give meaningfully to others, especially those who may not enjoy the privileges that we have. And just like good money skills, a person’s charitable side is cultivated in the home, a value that is still instilled by parents and reinforced by a show of good example.
Charitable giving is more effective when planned well. While random giving won’t hurt—for instance, giving alms to street beggars—having a plan as to how you can contribute to the greater good can make your charitable gift more meaningful.
Since charity is something that needs to be sustained, it is also much better when it is something that is espoused by members of the family, so that they may understand why it is necessary and what it encompasses.
Note that it is not enough to nurture the desire to share in little children. In order to sustain your charitable activities, it is equally important to be financially prepared for this.
Here are some ways that you can encourage a mindset that embraces charity at home.
Set aside funds specifically for charity.
Be prepared to give by having funds specifically for this purpose. By including charitable giving in your financial planning and budgeting, you will put you and your family in a position to contribute whenever it is needed. It may be a good idea to set aside a specific percentage of your income specifically for this, in the same way that you set aside funds for entertainment and savings. Those who practice tithing usually set aside 10% of their income for charitable giving, but you are free to determine what is most appropriate in your case, taking into consideration your financial profile and cash flow.
Know your charity goals.
Often, people give to charity out of their desire to make a difference in the lives of people, but other reasons include the desire to give back, give to organizations that directly benefit society, continue a family tradition, or create a memorial for someone after death. Knowing your goals will make it easier for you to identify the organizations or individuals that you want to give to, and how to do it.
Identify causes that you want to support.
There may be some causes that are dearest to you. People have different passions and advocacy — support for education, for special needs children, abused women, abandoned animals, or the elderly. The list is long, and while you may want to support all causes, it is also good to know what exactly you have a soft spot for. Once you have done this, pre-identify organizations that you want to support. There will be organizations that are focused on the causes that you are passionate about.
Encourage charitable giving in the family.
Get your children involved in your charitable works in order to instill a culture of charity in them. Encourage them to save specifically for the poor and disadvantaged. This will help your children recognize the value of what they have, while at the same time opening their eyes to their responsibilities to their less fortunate neighbors.
Find ways to sustain your acts of charity.
You may wish to look for ways to regularly contribute to charitable organizations. Some credit card firms allow you to make donations to these organizations on a regular basis.
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