Besides actually voting, the most powerful vote we have is how we spend our money. That’s why many environmentalists are deciding to donate 1% to the planet.
In a capitalist society, how and where people spend their money ultimately determines what business leaders do. When consumers demand businesses to do better–with cash in hand–they have no choice but to listen.
Aside from buying better products, many environmentalists are deciding to donate 1% to the planet. The climate crisis depends on a lot of things, including supporting the organizations protecting Mother Nature and cleaning up the mess we’ve already made.
If you want to donate 1% to the planet too, here’s how to do it.
- Determine how much to donate
- Pick your charity/charities
In college, I took an Intro to Islam course. I learned about zakat, which is when Muslims give a portion of their total wealth to charitable causes and the less fortunate. Most give about 2.5 to 3% of their total wealth.
Zakat is the largest form of wealth redistribution in the world. Economists have praised this form of giving for uplifting impoverished communities.
There are numerous stories of people who received a zakat and used it to grow their business, such as by buying a bigger fishing boat or creating an online store. In turn, their businesses became more profitable and they could contribute more zakat the following year, only further uplifting the community economically.
Zakats have built schools, shelters, businesses, and more.
This Islamic religious obligation inspired me to adopt something similar in my life. In 2019, I donated 1% of my total income to environmental charities. In 2020, I donated 3% of my total income to environmental charities.
Donating this amount takes financial planning and some sacrifice, but it’s something I felt was a priority in my life. My finances now reflect charitable giving as a priority, too.
Giving financially to the planet continues to be the best purchase I make annually. Here’s how you can do it too.
How much should you donate?
You can donate either 1% of your total wealth or 1% of your income.
Total wealth includes non-liquid assets, aka things you’d have to sell before having cash in hand. This would include any investments, retirement funds, cars, houses, and expensive jewelry. Basically, if the item is worth any large value, it should be included in your total wealth!
Alternatively, you could donate 1% of your income.
Donating 1% of your total wealth would result in a higher annual donation, but don’t feel pressured to donate this amount.
Figure out what you can realistically donate. Step two might help you figure this out if you really can’t decide.
No matter what, you’re making a huge contribution.
How to Budget to Donate 1% to the Planet
You’re donating a significant amount of money to the planet, which requires some planning. Budgeting will become your new best friend!
Read about the different methods of budgeting here and determine which one could fit your lifestyle best.
Personally, I use zero sum budgeting with the help from You Need A Budget.
I like this form of budgeting because you budget for all your regular purchases throughout the year and some things you’re saving for.
For example, I created a fund for gifts because I knew Christmas gifts make a big dent in my bank account annually. Instead of scraping by in November and December, I set aside a little bit of my income every month for my gifts fund. When the Christmas season came last year, I knew I was prepared.
Here’s a look at some of the things I’m budgeting for!
Budgeting–and with YNAB specifically–has been really helpful for me to afford to donate 1% to the planet. I put a little bit into my charity fund every month.
At the beginning of each year, I total my previous year’s income and calculate 3% of that amount. This number becomes my goal amount I want to have saved by the end of the year. YNAB automatically calculates how much I need to set aside each month. This feature helps me to always reach my financial goals!
No matter the budgeting style you pick, make sure you can realistically stick to it. I like YNAB because the automation makes it quick and easy for me to stay up-to-date. It feels almost like a game! Plus, as a data nerd, there’s a lot you can do to analyze how you spend your money.
(And, no, I’m not earning anything from promoting them…I’m simply obsessed with them!)
How to Pick A Charity to Donate 1% to the Planet
There are thousands of environmental non-profits around the world. They fill every value within sustainability you’d think, including animal rights and legal action for environmental justice.
To avoid being overwhelmed, decide what your top priorities for the planet are. There aren’t wrong answers here because they’re all important! Here are a few ideas:
- Cleaning up plastic pollution
- Animals rights
- Legal aid for environmental justice
- Planting trees
- Protecting land
You can determine which charities you want to donate to at any point of the year, and you can change these priorities too. Feel free to be loyal to one or a few charities year after year, or change it up annually!
Personally, I wait until the end of the year to make my donation in case any climate emergencies come up. For example, I donated a little bit to the Australian bush fires at the beginning of 2019.
So far, I’ve changed who I donate to annually because my environmental priorities have changed throughout time. I can see myself sticking to a few organizations one day….but for now I’m trying to spread the financial love!
How to Donate 1% to the Planet
Once you’ve donated your money, be sure to save your receipts for tax relief. The government tries to make it a little bit easier financially on Americans when they donate! I created a folder in my email box to save these receipts.
Does your country give tax benefits to people who donate in your country? Comment below and tell me where you’re from!
I hope this guide has helped you figure out how to donate 1% to the planet. From one environmentalist to another, thank you! Together, we’re making a difference one dollar at a time.