Why I give 10% of my income to charity

Why I give 10% of my income to charity
Photo by Katt Yukawa / Unsplash

So the new year is just around the corner, and I just completed my first full year of donating my income to charity. So far it's been great, and right now I want to continue to do so possibly for the rest of my career (and possibly my life).

It's a challenge

I see this as a way for me to develop my morality and grow as a person - in each aspect I strive to be better than I was yesterday. Since I'm already investing and saving at least 30% of my income,  10% is really a relatively small part of my spending, and it shouldn't be that big of an issue. If I feel any resistance to doing so, then it's an obstacle I'd like to overcome to grow as a person, and I welcome the challenge. I'd also like to challenge myself to give freely without resentment, and overcome the feeling of fear - I want to cultivate the confidence that I have enough, no matter my circumstances, and that I will always have space in my life for my ideals. I think it's an empowering mindset to have.

It's a reminder

I'm really fortunate and don't need three oxygen masks. But sometimes I need reminders - I have my first world problems to deal with, and that tends to get me hyperfocused on myself only, which can actually stress me out, causes me to get tunnel vision and forces me to think short-term. And that's not how I want to live, so I give regularly to remind myself of that.

It's concrete

I want to put my money where my mouth is - I want a better world, so I will pay for one. We pay for other things that we value like food, utilities, rent and transport, so why not for a better world? The reality is that charities need money to survive - they can't live on glitter and unicorns. They're just like the rest of us. So I'll fund some of them. I will take action.

It's an investment

For me, having an impact with my life really matters. By donating to charity, I diversify my impact - I could help advance the world in my career and also help another cause with my money. Just in case my career ends up going nowhere, I can simply point to my donations and say hey, at least that's doing something good. It helps me hedge my bets.

It's really for myself

Even though on the surface it's only donating money, there are many growth lessons you can learn through the act too. And hey, I'm basically investing in a better future for myself and also the people who come after me. Who wouldn't want a nicer world to live in?

But donating doesn't solve the root cause...

Yep, we need structural change to solve the big problems of our times. But apart from volunteering and working on a worthy cause, as an individual, this is another tool for me to make the change I want to see in the world, so I want to use it too. And, when policy doesn't work well and can't catch up, we have to help one another and depend on one another. And that's what I'll do.

But I don't have enough for myself...

Well, that's up to you to decide, and if you can make the budget, then go for it. Personally, I'd like to prioritise this spending, and so I account for it in my budget, even if it means I have to go without some other stuff.


If you'd like to start giving but don't know how, I recommend Giving What We Can - I like that they track your donations for you across multiple platforms, and you can see the history of your donations. It's as exciting as watching my investments grow.

If you'd like to discuss options in Singapore, do reach out to me on LinkedIn and I can chat with you briefly on my analysis of charities here.