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The gift of giving

In a country where 24% of the population is unemployed and thousands live in poverty, each and every South African should do what they can to give something back to those in need.  With outstretched hands at every robot you need think carefully about how you give of your time or money if you want to make a real difference to the lives of others. This is the game plan you need.

Budget for charity

Look at your finances, and work out what you can reasonably afford to give each month. Remember that donations to registered welfare organisations are tax deductible. If this is the case, ask them for their tax number and a record of your donation that you can use when you complete your tax return.

Identify the causes that you want to support

You can make a big difference to specific causes by identifying them as your charities and donating a specified amount each month. Every little bit helps, but an ongoing donation that the charity can count on is a gift that keeps on giving, literally.

You may care more about orphans or the plight of the aged or homeless people or literacy projects. Whatever your pet cause, try to identify an organisation that does work in that area so that you feel that you are supporting projects close to your heart.

You can also ask to see any charity's manifesto to make sure that their approach and politics are aligned with yours. And it is always a good idea to do some internet research into the charity's work and visit their premises if you can.

Find out what the charity needs

If you are looking for ways to help a small local charity, call them up to find out what items they are short of. Most charities have a wish list, and something that you have lying around could just be at the top of their list. Remember that if you donate food, it shouldn't be past its sell-by date, and clothes can be worn, but should still be in decent condition.

Donate your time

It may sound trite, but often the donation of your time is the greatest gift of all. You could clean runs for animal charities, groom or exercise pets, teach children to read or even read to the aged.

Remember that it's also OK to say no

Part of being a giver is that it's hard to say no. For your own peace of mind, it's important to accept that you're never going to solve the whole world's problems, and the little that you do is enough. Always say no kindly and graciously, and don't let yourself feel bad about it. 

Whatever you give, and whomever you give it to, your caring makes a difference, and 1st for Women salutes you for the work you do to help change the world, one gift at a time.

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