EMS Tips

Charitable Giving is a Habit – Pass it On!

One of the best personal habits you can cultivate is charitable giving and I am sure many of you regularly give to or tithe to your church, community organizations, and national/international charities. For my wife and I charitable giving is an important habit that we first learned from our parents and now we are consciously teaching this habit to our young children.

These are my Everyday EMS Tips and Reasons for charitable giving.

1. Have a reason to give. For many of us a motivation to give is for the itemized tax deduction. Contributions to qualified 501c(3) charitable organizations reduces my taxable income and supports important organizations. But my reasons are deeper than a tax deduction. I contribute because I am addicted to helping and giving. It gives me pleasure to write a check to an organization that wants my support. I find even more pleasure in watching those organizations use the contributions to make a difference. Happy Medic has a nice post about Tax Deductions.

2. Give to Give Back. I have been the beneficiary of some amazing opportunities in life because of organizations that believed in me and gave me chances to learn and grow. I was a camper for four summers and a staff member for eleven seasons at Camp Manito-wish YMCA. I learned leadership and followership at Manito-wish while exploring some of the most remote places in North America. I will never be able to repay what was given to me by Camp Manito-wish, but I am sure going to try with my support of the Camp’s annual fund drive and endowment fund.

3. Look locally. More than seventy-five percent of our giving is to organizations in our state. Giving locally helps influence the type of community I live in and the opportunities available. We like trails for hiking and cycling so we give to the Green Circle Trail Fund. We want our kids and our neighbors’ kids to know how to swim so we support the YMCA and the United Way.

4. Amazing global needs. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the poverty that afflicts many kids around the world. As a parent of two young children sometimes I can’t bear to watch a commercial about starving or orphaned children. Our global giving is primarily directed at charities that support the healthcare needs of children and families. Three organizations we support are Medical Teams International, Riders for Health, and GlobalMedic.

5. Prevent Health Emergencies with Early Intervention. For many patients, by the time they need the emergency department, they have had a cascade of opportunities for prevention pass them by. The Ministry Dental Clinic is an amazing organization in our community that serves the dental needs of children that don’t have dental insurance. They help children start life with a healthy set of teeth and the eating habits required for ongoing oral health.

6. Budget for regular donations. In December all of us are deluged with requests for contributions. Instead of waiting until the end of the year we budget a set amount to give each month. We are able to give more because we spread out our contributions across the year. Just like we budget for groceries and utilities; we budget for giving.

7. In case of emergency. Even though we budget our contributions we have an emergency fund for giving so we can contribute to immediate local, national, or international emergencies. We give to the Red Cross because they have local, national, and international emergency response capabilities.

Finally, you can support EMS organizations through charitable giving. Consider supporting the National EMS Memorial Service or scholarships distributed by the National Associations of EMTs or National Association of EMS Educators.

Now it’s your turn? What are your tips for charitable giving? How do you work on an EMS salary and still give to organizations you support?

By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.