Now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s officially the season of holiday giving. My Frugalista Facebook group had a fantastic conversation about donating during the holidays. It’s a tough debate. Holiday donations have become political, especially in the workplace. Being seen as the office scrooge won’t exactly help your career; however, donating too much money when you don’t have any to spare is a problem, too. How does one reconcile? Full disclosure: I was the holiday elf at my old job, helping gather toys and donations for needy children in the area. I really enjoyed it and definitely remembered EVERY person who helped the cause. I never loved my coworkers so much!
Still, I don’t think it’s fair for people to feel pressured to donate. They may have another charity that they help out. Or they may be cash strapped. Or, they just may want to keep their money in their own pockets. It happens.
I say try to donate – even a small sum – if it’s to a coworker or a friend who is trying to reach a goal. I do remember donating about $15 for a new friend’s AIDSWalk charity. She ended up advocating for me to get a job at her workplace. I got the job!
Frugalista Tip: The people who are involved in charities are often well connected and highly motivated. It may be good networking to support their cause, even on a small scale. Write off the donation on your taxes!
I think it’s wise to consider setting up an amount each year for how much you will donate to charities. Think about everything that is important to you and set up a budget/fund. You can even include miscellaneous donations as a line item. Once the fund is gone, no more giving and you will feel no guilt!
Do you donate to charities over the holidays? How do you decide who gets the money? Do you feel pressured to donate?