BERLIN, Ohio (Mennonite Mission Network) – Wish you could be generous, but are buried in student debt? Here are some ways to give to your favorite charities (ahem, Mennonite Voluntary Service or another ministry of Mennonite Mission Network!) without spending an extra dime of your own money. It's a win-win situation when you stay within your budget and others benefit, too.
Credit cards like Everence's MyNeighbor card donate 1.5 percent of every transaction to the charity of your choice. If you spend like the average U.S. citizen ($1,500 per month), you could end up donating $270 by the end of the year. So why not put that money to good use at a nonprofit that you trust?
This offer extends to businesses and churches, too.
Similarly, Amazon Smile donates 0.5 percent of every purchase. Just make sure to log in to smile.amazon.com and choose Mennonite Mission Network as your organization of choice. If you already buy from Amazon, you might as well make your purchase count.
Some employers match employee gifts. That way, your donation is doubled, and sometimes tripled, by your employer. So, when you land that corporate job, remember how Mennonite Voluntary Service gave you the experience you needed for your resume.
If you want a real giving challenge, give yourself a peace tax this tax season. The U.S. government spends roughly 28 percent of tax payer dollars on military spending. (The actual number is far more complex, but you can learn more about that at NationalPriorities.org.)
"Mennonites and other peacemakers have responded to the reality of tax dollars going to support war in various ways throughout the years," said Jason Boone of the Peace and Justice Support Network. "Some of us have withheld paying part or all of our taxes. Some of us, unsure as to the ramifications or efficacy of that avenue, have paid ours, but with unease."
Your gift to the Choose Peace Fund (through Mennonite Mission Network) gives you a chance to respond in a positive way by off-setting the amount put toward war, to donate toward peace.
"Where our tax dollars go is out of our control," said Boone. "But we can choose peace by supporting organizations that align with our values and do the hard work of peacebuilding."