Charitable contributions: input requested.


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
In my efforts to wring as much income as I possibly can from my mother's savings, I have been reviewing various options. The one thing that is giving me problems at the moment is: do I continue to make the charitable contributions that she has always made? It's not much (it would be an easier call if it was a lot) but since she's spending her savings down at a rate of about £1000 a month I'm wondering if I should teminate these. On the one hand, they're causes that she felt sufficiently strongly about to set up direct debits to, on the other charity begins at home. Any advice?



Registered User
Apr 6, 2007


My thoughts if it were me,would be things have changed since the days of those direct debits and I would stop them. It is a generous and lovely thing to do but you are right charity begins at home.



Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
Hi Jennifer

It's a hard one. On the one hand, your mum has supported these charities for a long time. On the other hand, would she want to continue the contributions at the risk of bankrupting herself?

I thought of the tithing system. Tithing meant donating one tenth of one's income to good causes, but when there is more going out than coming in, you wouldn't be expected to contribute.

There is also the point that your mum could live for years (read Bruce's post). If the time comes that you have exhaosted her funds, you would have to take over, and is it fair to deprive your own family (and would your mum have wanted that?)

These are just my thoughts. You have to make the decision, taking into account what your mum would have wanted in her present situation, not what she wanted at the time she set up the direct debits. Only you can determine that.

Good luck,


Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
What about paring down?

What about picking just one to continue with? Or small amounts for all? Every little bit does help at this stage, I realize. But I understand how you would want to carry on with what your mother would have done.


Registered User
Feb 22, 2006
sort of north east ish
Thats an interesting question Jennifer. Its something I've been sort of thinking about from a different angle, in terms of whether to carry on supporting the charities dad supported since I've inherited his 'fortune' :rolleyes:

I'm guessing that most people who were able to think logically about money, on seeing that their savings were being eroded, would take steps to cut back non essential expenditure. So it's probably quite likely that if your mum were able to decide she would decide to cut back on these direct debits?

I think Joanne's idea of chosing just one, or reducing the amounts for them all, is a good one. I wonder if it's possible to find out which of those two options would be most "cost effective". Thinking about the amount of stuff that charities tend to send out to their supporters (letters saying thank you, asking for more money, giving up dates on their work etc), I wonder if it might make more economic sense to give £5 to one charity than £1 to five different charities - so there's only one lot of admin and handling costs.


Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
Hi Jennifer, I was in the same situation some months ago..............looked at Lionel's outgoings and the drain on his savings. Decided to stop all contributions, including his direct debits to the AS, both for research and the general fund.

Hard call, but I know his funds will run out in about two years, and no charity is going to help him then.

Just my take on his financial situation.


Registered User
Mar 23, 2005
Hi Jennifer,

I think that I would be taking the "charity begins at home" line given your mother's situation.

On a purely pragmatic level, you could always have in the back of your mind that if your mother did still have savings remaining, a donation could be made to one key charity as a legacy in the future.

Take care,



Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
Thanks everyone. All very valid points. I did wonder about the cost/admin cost of small donations, and have also considered that perhaps it would be reasonable to make a donation out of whatever's left when she dies, (if there is anything left). I'm going to have to think about it some more: none of the options make me particularly comfortable, but I suppose that's part and parcel of the whole thing. I hate being a grown-up!


Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hi jennifer,

I`ve only just caught up with this query and have no different suggestions to those already made.

But as you`ve no idea how long your mother has left, or how much she will need in the future, unless she`s a millionaire, I`d ease up on the charity, and keep the money she has left for her care.

With love