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March 28, 2008


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I tend to be more generous with money because you can always get more money but you can never get more time.

That said I have volunteered in the past. I've actually been looking for ways to volunteer again as of late. However, the one thing that is a turn-off to me is that most organizations want too much of a commitment. I understand it's probably difficult to train/work with volunteers who only show up once but don't ask me to commit to six months either.

I would have to say that giving money is easier for me. As we discussed in an earlier post, I have a percentage of my income budgeted in Quicken toward giving. So far, I've found that the program doesn't have a "time" element!! :) But really, you raise a good point here--it makes me want reevaluate my investment (or lack!) of time in good causes...

I too have served on non-profit boards. Aside from the volunteering effort, it is a great way to network and expose yourself in the community.

But, I'd have to say it's easier to give money than time. Sad to say, I budget my money far more effectively than I budget my time, so I can plan ahead on a financial contribution but am leery about committing to a time obligation that I'm unsure I can fulfill.

I think money is much easier to give $$ (but time is money :) )

I think another variable to add to your list is: how much is your time worth?
I like Nick's calculator ( to figure out how much you should "charge" per hour.

Also, Which is more valuable to the charity, your time or money?
My wife and I just adopted a puppy from a shelter and asked them if they needed volunteers. They said volunteers are always welcome, but what they really needed were donations (for food, blankets, toys, etc.).

I view my time & money as not really mine. It is God's. God has entrusted those resources to me. My role is then to become a good steward of my time and money.

With the above perspective, I feel much easier to "give away" my time/money to the church or other Godly-related causes, as it is not really mine in the first place.

I think of it like returning something to the rightful owner, and investing in something that has eternal value ... which is immune from recession, bull/bear market, etc :-)

Doesn't the statistic just mean that about 1/2 of Americans think it's easier to give money and about 1/2 think it's easier to give time? Does such a stastistic really have any far reaching implications?

Dave --

In just about every survey I've ever seen with two choices, there are the following categories of answers:

*Prefer A
*Prefer B
*Like A & B equally
*Don't know/uncertain
*Don't care
*Don't like either

Hence, a two-chice option can have 100% of the decisions be quite spread out. Therefore, 52% os any one choice is actually quite meaningful.

In that case, it IS meaningful. What I take away from it is that Americans (or at least those surveyed) have far more money to give away than time. This doesn't really surprise me given how busy everybody is these days. If the survey was of Money magazine readers it might be further skewed towards people with higher levels of education and income (and correspondingly, lower levels of free time). In my own case, it is far, far easier for me to cut a check than to give of my time.

I think giving at least some time is actually quite important, as charity is not merely about paying a voluntary tax, but about connecting with your neighbors, your community, your world. Not to disparage the value of a check, but it doesn't really confront you with the humanity of those you are helping in that direct and visceral way that handing out food in a soup kitchen or helping raise a house can.

I, too, give money, because it is easier and appears to have less commitment.

I somehow feel that a person who gives time is a lot more committed to a cause than a pure money giver.

I tend to give money more than time, though I prefer to give time over money. When giving time you get a real sense for what the organization is doing and have no worries that your money is going to cover administrative costs instead of the true cause the organization was founded for.

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