While having a conversation about how to help during the COVID-19 crisis, one person I was meeting with was feeling torn. She expressed how she felt pulled to give in a time of crisis, when so many are in need right now. But she is unsure how to do so without putting her personal financial situation at risk.
We believe that millions of Americans are feeling this way right now and we told her something crucial that we want you to hear too:
You are not alone.
When it comes to being charitable it feels almost wrong to think of yourself first but that is exactly what many of us need to do. When your own financial situation is uncertain you need to be purposeful in how you proceed.
So how do we give within our means and avoid feeling obligated, guilty, selfish or even resentful?
Before we get to HOW you can help, let’s talk about WHEN or IF you are in a position to help. One of our principals in our coaching practice is that “You cannot pour from an empty cup”. Every single person has basic needs and as much as you do not want to hear it, you have to take care of your needs before you can effectively give or care for others. If you forget this step, you could easily become the next person requiring assistance. This does not make you selfish and it is a common theory in Survival and Emergency Response. The person doing the rescuing has to make sure they are OK before they can begin assisting others.
Giving in a Time of Crisis
So with that being said, run through a financial checklist before you donate money and then explore some other non-monetary ways you can help in times of need.
Can you currently afford necessities? (housing, utilities, transportation, and food)
Do you still have work, are receiving a steady income and have little to no risk of job loss?
Do you have an emergency fund of 3 – 6 months worth of living expenses?
If you can answer “YES” to all of these, feel free to give and donate financially in a way that won’t change your answers to “NO”
If you answered “NO” to any of the above, work on changing them to a “YES” before you donate money.
The good news is there are plenty of ways to give that do not involve money.
Ways to Give that Cost Little to No Money
Stay Home! (In case you needed a reminder, during this COVID-19 crisis, that counts).
Help keep your network informed, but only share accurate information.
Report suspicious activity online to the Federal Trade Commission so that they can shut down scammers who trying to rip people off right now.
Donate blood. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 there has been a shortage. Find where you can donate HERE
Donate used clothing and footwear to shelters and disaster relief areas
Reach out to friends and family to provide emotional support – especially the elderly or those who suffer from things like chronic anxiety or depression.
Use your professional network to help people find a new job
Be uplifting in any way you know how! Sharing light, fun content on social media, starting an email recipe exchange etc.
People everywhere are getting creative to lift each other’s spirits and help one another in their own special way. Just remember, you can too. “Giving” and “Helping” is not always synonymous with donating money and you should not feel selfish for making sure that your needs are met.