You might think that, as a doctor, you already do enough for the people in your area. But giving back means more than just doing your job.
Why Doctors Need to Give Back
Volunteering and donating funds or time can help you get more fulfilment out of your career and life.
Like other medical professionals, you may at times experience feelings of frustration, guilt and conflict when you prescribe treatment that your patients need but cannot afford and which you cannot afford to provide for free.
When you give of your time, knowledge and services to help disadvantaged individuals in your community (or in another country), then you will not only discover a deeper sense of satisfaction, you will change (and often save) lives.
You have a unique set of skills that can impact your community and the world, and that goes beyond your job.
How Doctors Can Give Back to the Community
What are some ways you can give back? Start with the causes and things you’re passionate about and then explore these some ideas.
Providing vital medical services for free is a highly fulfilling way to give to others in need. Whether you volunteer at a local clinic or participate in a foreign mission, make sure that you will still have adequate insurance cover.
One personal but simple way to feel that you’re making a difference is by making some ‘greener’ lifestyle changes. Switch to a vehicle that runs on electricity, ride a cycle to work, eat cleaner, reduce your household waste or make food and clothing purchases that don’t have a negative impact on the environment. You can make similar changes at your medical practice too, and change culture.
Engaging in Community Events and Activities
Bring your entire clinic team on-board for fundraisers and charity events such as races and team sporting competitions to raise money for a good cause. Participate in local food drives or bake sales. Get involved in activities that will help boost staff morale and give others in the community a positive impression of your medical practice.
It can be draining, impractical and self-defeating to constantly give of your limited extra time. If the idea of participating in events or providing services for free is not compatible with your circumstances, then you can always consider donating to a good cause.
Doctors can give cash or property to charitable organisations and garner a tax break as a bonus. By making a charitable donation, you can actually save yourself some money the next time you lodge your tax return.
Just remember that the ATO will only let you claim tax deductible gifts to organisations that have the status of ‘deductible gift recipients’ (DGR). You can’t simply give your money to any GoFundMe account and expect a tax break. Keep receipts for the donations you make and also be aware that it won’t count as a tax-deductible gift if you receive a gift or service in return for your donation. It is best to chat to your medical accountant about this.
The best way to give back is to do so with strategy. Instead of ad-hoc support, build a plan to make a sustainable, long-term impact. This can integrate with your wealth plan, so you can also enjoy any tax benefits that may also coincide.
Contact Nitschke Nancarrow, specialists in accounting, financial planning, loans and finance, investment and business for medical professionals. We operate in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and throughout Australia. Managing partner Kym Nitschke is available for a free initial discussion about your situation. Call us on (08) 8379 9950 or send me an email.
– Kym Nitschke
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