SOURCE: BMO Harris Bank

May 09, 2013 11:17 ET

BMO Harris Bank Financial Tip of the Week: Ways to Gift Back Without Emptying Your Pocketbook

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - May 9, 2013) - As part of BMO Harris Bank's ongoing commitment to financial literacy and Making Money Make Sense, BMO Harris is providing weekly financial tips. This week's tip offers ways to give back without emptying your pocketbook.

You may feel you can't afford to give back if you are struggling to make ends meet. But, if you look closely, there are ways to make a meaningful gift without emptying your own pocketbook.

Don't sell yourself short by thinking you don't have enough time or the skills to make a difference. Get involved and you'll see the value you can bring to a non-profit organization and how it impacts the world around you.

BMO Harris Bank recommends five easy ideas for maximizing your non-profit gift:

Get an employer match. Many companies will match employee donations, sometimes up to triple the amount. Contact your company's human resources department to see what options are available. You should also see if your company will donate dollars on behalf of your volunteer hours. For example, if you volunteer with a soup kitchen, some companies will donate money to that organization on your behalf.

Donate your professional skills. Many non-profit organizations have small staffs and can greatly benefit from volunteers with marketing, accounting and computer programming skills. You can help even if you can't donate a lot of money. If you consider the salary value of your skill-based volunteer hours, it adds up and can make a big difference to the organization.

Host a party. Invite a representative from your favorite non-profit organization as the guest of honor. During the evening, allow him or her to give a brief talk about the non-profit's mission, needs and upcoming events. Consider scheduling your party a few weeks before an event at the non-profit so people have an easy way to take the next step in getting involved.

Ask for donations in lieu of gifts. With the birthdays, holidays, and other gift-giving occasions, come plenty of gifts -- but do you really need another coffee book or scarf? Instead, ask your family and friends to make a donation on your behalf.

Race for your favorite non-profit. Help a non-profit's bottom line -- and your waistline. There are countless run/walks scheduled throughout the year and many have a charitable component. A portion of your race registration benefits the organization, but you can also choose to fundraise or donate additional dollars.

Whether you want tips for maximizing your non-profit gift or strategies for strengthening your finances, BMO Harris Bank can help.

Put yourself in a comfortable place and get started with helpful steps.

The Learning Center is brought to you by BMO Harris Bank, WGN, CLTV, WGN AM 1070, Chicago Tribune, RedEye and Hoy.

About BMO Harris Bank

BMO Harris Bank provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through over 600 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. For more information about BMO Harris Bank, go to the company fact sheet. Deposit and loan products and services provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank(SM) is a trade name used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with approximately 1,600 branches, and $542 billion in assets (as of Jan. 31, 2013).

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