Color of Money: Make a regular plan to give, because there's always a need.

Michelle Singletary on

Here's another bonus of having a strategic philanthropic effort. You don't have to feel guilty about not having the time or money for multiple appeals. You can simply say you're already committed to another cause.

-- Be deliberate with your dollar donations. Either budget a percentage of your income or settle on giving a set amount. My husband and I follow the principle of tithing. We give a tenth of our annual gross income to our church. Our giving in large part supports our church's community outreach and charitable work.

If you're not religious, then choose a charity or nonprofit you want to regularly help. Set up automatic payments. And, if you can, build some flexibility into your budget, so you can give when there's unforeseen need like with Hurricane Harvey.

-- Volunteer when you can. Be as committed with your time as you are with your money. And show up when you say you will -- regularly.

Although your presence is needed, it's understandable when there are times you just can't volunteer.

Burton is a caregiver for her husband, who has early-onset Alzheimer's. So she doesn't have a lot of time to volunteer.

I told her not to feel guilty that her giving is mostly limited to cash donations. Her husband needs her time right now.

Burton's right about having a deliberate approach to altruism. Establish a plan. Because there's always need.


Readers can write to Michelle Singletary c/o The Washington Post, 1301 K St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20071. Her email address is Follow her on Twitter (@SingletaryM) or Facebook ( Comments and questions are welcome, but due to the volume of mail, personal responses may not be possible. Please also note comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer's name, unless a specific request to do otherwise is indicated.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group



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