How you (and your finances) can make a difference

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Being generous with your finances or your time means more than reaping tax benefits or public praise. It demonstrates you are in a confident place with your finances and life. Giving your talents or dollars to organizations making a difference is a healthy and rewarding outlet. But how to get started, you might ask? It's easy.

1. List one cause or nonprofit organization that is important to you

Have you been impacted by a specific cause? Do you feel strongly about improving others' lives? If nothing else, think of one thing you are truly passionate about—maybe a campaign that battles illness or hunger—and there is likely an organization out there dedicated to bettering that area.

2. Identify three things your cause or nonprofit organization needs to make it more successful

Nonprofit organizations are often in need of support—and this doesn't always mean the financial variety. Whether the cause or nonprofit you feel strongly about needs volunteers, donated shoes or simply spreading awareness, jot them down.

3. Determine one way you can give your time and talent to support this cause or nonprofit

Take a look at the three things your cause needs, and find an item that you identify with the most. What about your unique talents or lifestyle makes you able to help? You might have great organizational skills, or don't mind lending a hand on a Saturday. Whatever contribution you feel most confident about, put it to action.

4. Identify one way you can financially support causes or nonprofit organizations

You don't have to be made of money to financially support the causes you believe in. The best approach is to have a plan in place, such as putting an allotted amount from upcoming paychecks to philanthropy. Make it a goal. You could even open an account dedicated to supporting all the causes and opportunities that come up throughout the year. Keep your donations small, if need be. The satisfaction should feel the same.

Are your finances aligned with your values?

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