As members of the personal finance community, we strive to save money, earn more money, pay off debt, increase assets and invest well. What are some of the motivating factors behind doing all of this though? I mean, I get that we’re all striving to live a comfortable life, free from money worries but, if we look at the bigger picture, a lot of us spend way more money than we need to survive and we just hoard our excess
I think that you know where this is going. How many of us donate money to charity? Sure, it’s your hard-earned money and yes, not everyone deserves a charitable hand-out but, with a little bit of research you can find organizations which put your dollars to good use and actually help those who are in the most need.
Oh Unicef. Who remembers those Unicef boxes from when we were kids? I can specifically remember my parents and teachers telling me why these boxes are so important — trying to get around adult issues like poverty and corruption and war and simply explain that not all children are born with the same advantages that we often take for granted in Canada.
Today, one of the biggest campaigns that Unicef is mounting is to raise money for children in Syria. If you’ve been blissfully unaware of the events in Syria, the country has been engulfed in civil war since March 2011. I’ve been following this uprising/war since it began, in part because I was a Middle East Studies major at the time and, in part because I had been planning to study in Damascus in summer 2011 to improve my Arabic.
Raising awareness of the horrible conditions for Syrian civilians is nothing new. Recently, a thinly-dressed Norwegian charity child volunteer sat on an Oslo bench for two days to see who would offer him a coat or warm place to stay. “Pfft, you might be thinking — Syria and Oslo are not anywhere near the came thing” Umm, no. Oslo current daytime temperature is about 5 degrees Celsius. Damascus’s nighttime temperature is 7 degrees Celsius. 7 degrees without a coat is bad enough but when you’re a scared and homeless child refugee? It’s ridiculously cruel.
If you still feel no inclination to donate, remember that charitable donations are tax-refundable. This year, while filing your taxes, think about what a small $50 donation would mean to a Syrian child and how little its effect would have on your budget. Then, next year at tax time, reap the benefits of your donation with a tax rebate and use the savings to boost your emergency fund, reduce debt or donate more.