Some people give selflessly to anyone in need due to their altruistic nature. The rest of us need to be nudged a little in order to do the right thing. If you find yourself in the latter group, here are some ways that you can benefit yourself under the guise of “helping others.”
Increase your property value
I have humorously said, “We need to invest in the children of the community because I don’t want one of these little bastards robbing me in 10 years.” Usually ,there is some truth behind humor. The value of your property is determined by the overall attractiveness of your area i.e. crime rate, public school rankings, and amenities like food, shopping, art, culture, and recreational options.
If you plan to live in a community for an extended amount of time, it would be wise to invest in it. Anything that keeps kids/teens busy would be advantageous for you and your community as a whole. If they’re playing soccer or the guitar, they’re not out spray painting gang signs. Get it? Although the names and specifics of the charities differ per community, the general purpose remains constant. Here are some general areas to support:
• Local Public schools
• Local recreational sports leagues
• Local Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts/Pathfinders etc
• Local arts/culture/music centers
Increase the power of your degree (support your Alma mater)
When you walk into an interview, you degree walks in with you. Coming from a well known school makes you more attractive to potential employers. How does a school become well known? Athletics, academics and/or famous alumni
Alumni Roundup contributor, Mo the educator pointed out a paradox in college athletics. “The best athletes want to be on TV. To be on TV, your school must have the best athletes. HBCU’s don’t have the money to build strong sports teams and facilities.” I don’t know much about Notre Dame’s math department but I know their name because of the football team. Moreover I don’t know much about Harvard’s sociology department either, but due to their world renowned business and law school, I assume all of their other schools are pretty good too. The top schools attract the top students whom have the potential to be the most influential alumni. You can donate online to most universities and choose which department or which project you would like to support. Making them great is making you great.
Cure a disease before you get it.
The leading causes of death for African Americans are heart disease, cancer (colon, pancreatic, breast prostate, and lung), Diabetes, and HIV/AIDS. If your genetics and/or lifestyle makes you more susceptible to a disease, kill it before it kills you. If you have sickle cell in the gene pool, throw some money at Sickle Cell research. The life you save could be your own. Here are some charities that specialize in clinical research:
• The Henry Grady Sickle Cell Fund
• The Baltimore Alliance for the Prevention and Control of Hypertension and Diabetes
• AIDS Research Alliance
• Prostate Cancer foundation
Philanthropy is really impressive. It’ll make you seem like a good person even if you know you’re not. When in your group of like minded shallow materialistic superficial socialites, you can wow them with your charitable deeds. Tell them about how with the purchase of these TOMS shoes you bought at Nordstrom, a pair was sent to a child in need in a developing country. Impress a possible new mate with the riveting story of how you spent your vacation tutoring underprivileged kids or volunteering at a homeless shelter. Some charities even give you plaques and awards for your donation of time and/or money. You’ll have proof that you’re a good person and no one can take that away from you.
Are you a shopaholic? Do you like the newest and latest gadgets? Do you have a closet full of last year’s hot items? Donate them and get a receipt. If you donate a perceived $1,000 in clothing, computers, furniture or whatever and you’re in a 25% tax bracket, that receipt is worth $250 in tax savings. Many of the charities will even come to your house to get your items. You weren’t using them anyway.
You can’t get tax savings for the perceived value of your time if you decide to volunteer but you can get reimbursed for out-of-pocket cost like mileage.