Is Charity a Good Thing?

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Okay, the title was just a grabber.  Of course being charitable is a good thing – especially if it will get the guy with the red kettle to stop ringing his bell long enough for me to get out of earshot.

Some people “tithe” – which is giving 10% of one’s income.  It’s like God is their agent and that is his commission.   I can hear Him now, “I put you in America, how about a little something for the effort?  Thank you.  Me Bless.”

A couple weeks ago, my friends Jimmy Pardo, Pat Francis and Matt Belknap did their annual “Pardcast-a-thon” to raise money for SmileTrain.  The star-studded guest list included Conan O’Brien, John Hamm, Laraine Newman and Zach Galifianakis.  They raised over $100,000 and are still accepting donations at Pardcast.com

It’s great to do things for charities.  If you were looking for ways to be able to give more to charities, I have a few suggestions that have worked for me.

  1. I have a savings account at my bank that I call my “Donation Fund”.  Every month I have an automatic transfer from my checking to that fund.  If your bank won’t give you a free interest bearing savings account, set one up at Ally Bank (.95%) or Capital One 360 Savings (.75%).  Those pay interest, have no minimums and no monthly fees.  It’s amazing how fast those funds will grow!
  2. Now that I have my Donation Fund, when I get a request for a Bike For… this or Walk For… that, I have money ready to send.
  3. If you don’t know where to donate, CharityNavigator.com is a good place to start.
  4. Corporate Matching – Sometimes companies will match donations. Talk to your company’s Human Resources department to see if they’ll match what you kick in.
  5. Private Matching – Someone offered to match what the Pardcast-a-thon brought in.  A benefactor offered to match any increases in donations at my high school community service teacher’s Paul Lammermeier Foundation.  Ask your favorite charities if anyone has made a matching offer.  Maybe this is the year you sweeten it a bit!
  6. I also like to throw a few bucks to the Little Sisters of the Poor in my hometown.  They have run a nursing home for over 140 years, where “thousands of elderly Cincinnatians from all walks of life, all religions and beliefs, have made their home with us.”

It can’t hurt to have a bunch of nuns praying for you!  Even a heathen knows it’s smart to hedge a bet, just… in… case.

Many charities take credit cards, which is a nice way to meet a spending requirement if you are shooting for a big sign-up bonus! Click on “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” at the top right side of this website for up-to-date deals, terms, and conditions on my favorite cards.  Email me if you have any questions about which card might be right for your situation.

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