(BPT) - It's the season of giving, which means you can make an impact no matter your budget.
When money is tight, donating to charities can easily fall to the bottom of your list. But you can reap the benefits of investing in others even when there's little wiggle room in your own budget.
Here are six ways to help you maximize your giving this season.
Swap it out
According to the 2022 Happy Money Giving Survey, more than 75% of people plan to donate the same or more money this year compared to last, which is very encouraging. If that's you and you need help finding room in your budget for charities you'd like to support, try reviewing weekly expenses. Is there a recurring splurge or expense that no longer brings you joy and could be cut out once or twice a month? If so, this money could give you a much bigger happiness boost by putting it toward a favorite cause instead.
Grow your gift
The survey also found 62% of people have donated money in the past 12 months toward a charity or cause they care about. One way you can increase the amount you give is by taking the money you would otherwise donate to your favorite charity each month and place it into a high-yield savings account instead. Then the gift that you intended to give monthly can now grow into an even larger annual donation with no impact to your budget.
Another way to increase your donation is to ask friends or family to match (or exceed!) your gift. Using events like your birthday or holidays is a great way to pool money to put toward your favorite causes. Plus, you can share it on your favorite social media platforms too. Some apps even let you use your birthday as a fundraiser! Regardless of how many followers you have, the ripple effect can have a big impact.
Gift your talent
If money is just not an option, that's OK! The survey found 80% of people plan to volunteer the same or more time as last year. Your time and talents are priceless to many organizations. Do you have a specialty or niche that could provide a benefit to a local organization? Would you love to mentor a local teen? Or read to a group of wide-eyed toddlers? There are a lot of ways to turn your talents into gifts that many charities would receive with open arms.
See if your donation can be doubled
Explore ways your contribution can be easily doubled. You could see if a friend or family member would like to join you once a month to volunteer or if they'd be willing to match your financial donation. You can also ask your favorite charity or nonprofit if they have a matching campaign happening around the holidays and plan to donate during that time. Some companies also offer charitable donation matches to their employees.
The Happy Money Survey found 28% of people say they set aside a specific amount of money from their paycheck to donate to causes they care about. Automatically setting aside money can make it easier to plan and budget for giving and make the impact to your own budget less noticeable.
Reputable charities only
Be sure that you're wisely investing your time and money with a cause that is credible. Reputable charities and nonprofits will be transparent about their practices, their funding and their beliefs. Some resources to help with this are websites like Charity Navigator or GuideStar, which provide nonprofit reviews and ratings to help consumers understand how they use donations.
Download the 2022 Happy Money Giving Guide for more tips including how to give experiences, questions to think about before choosing a charity to donate to and information to develop your own giving strategy and maximize your impact this season.