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Creative Generosity

Has your budget suffered in these crazy days of COVID?

Maybe you were forced into new spending habits because your income decreased during the COVID lockdown. For many of us, it is all too easy to stop being generous when our budget takes a hit.

It’s important to remember that even with the budget adjustments, we’re always called to be generous. And the desire to be generous is a gift in itself. If your income is reduced or you are just looking for new ways to be creatively generous, we compiled a list of 8 Ideas for you to consider.

The following list is in addition to the ways you are currently generous with your time, talent, or treasure. These are ways to either enhance your current generosity plan or to help bridge the gap if your income is either reduced or is on hold for the time being.

  1. DONATE YOUR POINTS OR MILES.

Some nonprofits will accept those precious points and miles you’ve earned on your credit cards. We know they’re hard to part with, but donating points or miles could be an alternative to giving cash, especially if you don’t see yourself using those points before they expire. Why let them go to waste? 

Most airline, hotel, and other loyalty programs let you donate miles, points and cash back to a charity with just a few clicks. Here’s how:

  • Go to your loyalty program’s charity page and log in to your account
  • Select a charity. Most programs let you donate to big-name nonprofits, such as the Red Cross, St Jude’s, or Make-A-Wish Foundation. Others are more specialized.
  • Indicate how many points or miles or how much cash back you want to donate. Generally, rewards will be deducted from your balance right away, and you’ll get a confirmation email from your loyalty program or the charity.

Additional bonus: Loyalty programs usually count donations as “account activity.” That means if your points or miles are due to expire because of inactivity, a small donation could restart the expiration clock. If you’ve been sitting on miles or points because of the shutdown, making a mileage donation could keep those miles or points active.

  1. USE AMAZON SMILE

AmazonSmile is a program that donates 0.5% of your eligible purchases on Amazon to a charity of your choice. Though 0.5% is not a large donation, it’s a great way to take advantage of a service you’re using anyway. 

All you need to do is start your shopping at smile.amazon.com. The donation will be made at no extra cost to you and you can choose from nearly one million public charitable organizations. 

  1. ROUND UP YOUR SPENDING.

If you’re looking into getting a new credit card, consider one with a “donate the change” program or use an app like “Round Up.” This technology donates the change to your favorite nonprofits. If you spend $25.46, your charge is rounded up to $26, and $0.54 is donated. In addition to your donation, using whole numbers with no pennies to track makes it easier for you to manage your budget.

  1. INVESTIGATE COMPANY MATCH PROGRAMS.

Go to your HR department and ask about company match programs they may offer. Employee matching gift programs are corporate giving programs in which the company matches donations made by employees to eligible nonprofit organizations. Requesting a matching gift is normally a five-minute process which must be initiated by the donor. You can do this by filling out and submitting the forms provided by your employer.

  1. DONATE YOUR TIME AND TALENTS.

You can share your time and talents with others in many different ways. Volunteer to help organize the food pantry or to sanitize the church after Mass. There are many virtual volunteering opportunities now, too, so you don’t even have to leave your house! The Knights of Columbus at my local parish are outside every Saturday taking care of the parish landscaping. There are many areas where our churches and communities need assistance and your time and talents may help them fill that gap.

  1. BE GRATEFUL.

Make it a mantra to be generous with your gratitude. Leave thank you notes for those making your daily Amazon delivery. Make it a point to make eye contact with your grocery store cashier when you thank them for their service. Give the garbage collectors a cold bottle of water on a hot day. There are any number of ways to show your gratitude if you take the time to think about it and plan ahead.

  1. REVIEW A BOOK, BLOG, OR PODCAST.

If you’re a regular reader of a certain blog or if you listen to the same podcasts week after week, leave a rave review for the creator to read. A heartfelt review from a reader or listener is one of the greatest gifts for those who put their words out into the world. Positive reviews also affect their search algorithm and helps their material become easier for others to find.

  1. MAKE MORE OR GET MORE

If you are cooking dinner, make some extra and take it to your elderly neighbor, or take it to the friends who are working from home while also home schooling. Or take advantage of the BOGOs (buy one, get one free) at the grocery and donate the free items to the local food pantry.

Few areas of the Christian life can be more frustrating than generosity. It seems like there are always more requests for donations than you can possible meet. It also seems like the requests are never ending. By stepping back and planning your giving in a creative way you can be more generous and touch more hearts.

The great thing about generosity is that it has a snowball effect. The feeling we get from being generous encourages us to want to do these things more often. At the same time, the people receiving our generosity are inspired to pass it on as well.

Generosity is the overflow of a humble, grateful heart. It’s all about passing the love of Jesus to others. When you live generously in many different ways, you begin to understand there’s more to life than accumulating stuff. There is nothing better than living an abundant life and that abundance has nothing to do with how much money you have or how many possessions you own.

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