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Finishing School: How to pick which charitable fundraisers to attend when you’ve only got so much money to give

Q: My friends are really active in the charity sector and sit on fundraising committees. Inevitably, one of them is always hitting me up to buy a ticket to a fundraiser, to the tune of $100 to $200. I wish I could afford to go to them all, but it gets really expensive—and I’m not even really interested in some of their causes. Can I pick which ones to support or do I have to go to them all?

-Cash broke, karma rich

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There are no shortage of great causes to support—and good on the intrepid hustlers out there raising money for them! But it’s not realistic to support every charity in your city. In fact, you might actually feel like you’re making more of an impact if you focus your donations on the charities you really care about.

Your friends’ philanthropic interests aren’t mouths around a table that you have to dole out equal portions to. If the request is by email (or, cringe, Facebook), respond in that same medium explaining that you’d love to support their worthy cause, but that your charitable budget has been allocated elsewhere. And then do just that: allocate your budget however you like, towards the causes that you get really excited about supporting.

As an addendum, if there is a cause that you are particularly keen on, why not consider getting involved with it yourself? Supporting your friend is an excellent way to start, but perhaps it’s just the beginning.

Questions, comments and conundrums are most welcome at twitter.com/schoolfinishing or formspring.me/KarenCleveland

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