Giving to charity can be a chore.
Your friend is running some marathon as an excuse to get fit and raising money for some cause or other. And suddenly you owe them money for that.
Odd feelings about the cost of your friendship and trying to give them some money so you don't look like a dick but as small amount as possible.
People stop you on the street to tell you about some terrible thing going on that is up to you to solve by giving away the money you're failing to earn at the speed you want.
Annoyed feelings of your day being interrupted to make you feel like a bad person.
There are things going on in the world that are bad and you genuinely want to change. It feels like you should sort out your situation first and when you are more successful you will have time to donate to these things.
Frustrated feelings of existential panic for the problems and your own personal failure and not being able to fix them
You can see why many of us cross the street and go out of our way to avoid these feelings.
There is a better way.
Assuming you want to give to charity in the future and have a regular income or savings. You can save yourself a lot of stress and personal angst by using charity budgets.
It gives you a quick way to say yes or no to giving without taking it personally or feeling like a bad person.
Create a budget
I would decide a percentage of your income or wealth that you can afford to improve the world.
This could be 0.1% of your income or 50%. That is up to you but I would try and start at 1%.
- Write down the number of your cash budget This is your budget for the year (or month.)
- Write down the charities and projects you most want to support. This is who you will give to at the end of each year from the budget that remains
Support friends happily
As the year goes by and friends ask for donations. You have a budget already and it isn't a shock to your finances. You can give a bit more generously and feel happy that you are supporting your friend.
Also when loose friends are raising money who you would probably not get round to donating to you suddenly can. And it makes you feel great as being a nice person and they are more grateful because they didn't expect you to donate anyway.
Support your priorities
At the end of the month or year anything left in your budget you donate to the causes you want to support the most. (You must actually do this)
When someone stops you on the street you can walk by politely and tell them you already donate and you don't have budget. And whatever they say you won't take it personally because you know you donate your budget to something that is more important to your values.
This will help you feel better about your identity.
When charity giving comes up it get's questioned if you are a good person or not. That is why we had those feelings of frustration at the start of this blog. We have an internal identity of being a good person yet our actions clash with this and we feel have a small crisis of discomfort.
With a charity budget you always have an answer that yes you are a good person. You know you are sticking to your values and you are doing something good with the money you can afford.
So you feel good about yourself.
This is a gift to your own mental health as much as it is about improving the world.