More likely than not, your employer has certain charitable causes they support, and as a result of being employed, you're expected to pony up. While this is well-intentioned on your employer's behalf, and it's always AWESOME working for a company who believes in something, these kinds of events make a lot of people uncomfortable. And if you're young, paying off student loans and not has #blessed financially as some of your older coworkers, it can feel awkward deciding whether or not to donate. 

Before you go on, watch this video.

How did that make you feel? To me, it extends past my love of credit unions and the cooperative principles. It gives me a bit of a guide to making charitable donations. Everyone's at a different point in life, and you shouldn't feel pressured to donate if you can't financially or don't believe in the cause. Think about the following:

  • If you donate, will you be in a worse place? There's a phrase that no one ever becomes poor by giving. But if you're living on a budget, sometimes every dollar makes a difference. Do keep in mind that most donations are tax-deductible, giving you a small break there. Overall, look at your budget and consider how a donation would impact your monthly security and financial goals.
  • With that said, look at how your dollars are used. Explore your company's preferred charity on Charity Navigator, pull financial statements from their website and even do some internet research to make sure you dollars will be put to work and not wasted. As you watched in the video, you want to be sure your donation has a great impact on your community. 
  • Is there another opportunity to get involved? If you can't swing financial support just yet, ask around and find out if you can volunteer for this organization instead. While money is always necessary, charities usually always need man power as well. Who knows - it could end up being even more rewarding. You could be helping children learn to read, giving animals a walk around the park, and more, all of which are very rewarding. 
  • Lastly, do you even believe in the cause? Be open minded here. Research the organization and work to understand the cause before making a decision. If you find you don't support the mission or financial model, or perhaps you'd rather support other missions - that's okay. Just make sure you do your part to try and make an informed decision.

Charitable giving campaigns can be stressful, but we're here to help you through it. Remember that many feel the same as you do, and you're never alone in making these decisions.