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If you can't give a lot to Haiti, give a little

By Suze Orman, Special to CNN
  • Suze Orman: People in financial distress hesitate to donate, thinking it won't be enough
  • Orman says your donation to Haiti doesn't have to be big to make a difference
  • She says if $10 is what you can honestly afford, then $10 is the right amount to donate.
  • Watch "Haiti How You Can Help" on CNN's "Larry King Live" at 8 p.m. ET Monday

Editor's note: Suze Orman is a financial adviser and hosts "The Suze Orman Show." She has written several books on managing personal finances, including "Women and Money."

(CNN) -- I imagine you have been as glued to the news as I have the past few days, seeing the horrific aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti and the heroic relief efforts that are under way.

At times like these, we are galvanized to offer help. Especially when we are being told that the need for financial donations is high. But at the same time, I know many of you are very concerned about your own financial earthquakes that you've recently been through.

You believe you can't really afford to give, but deep down, you know that you can't afford not to give, either. So what to do?

Recognize that what you give is not as important as simply giving something.

Yes, the estimates of the amount of aid needed to help the Haitians are huge. But that doesn't mean your donation needs to be huge.

If your budget is tight, give what you can. If $10 is what you know you can honestly afford, then $10 is the right and honorable amount for you to donate. (You can text "Haiti" to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross International Response Fund.)

But here is the point: Do not feel you cannot do much, and what you can give doesn't matter. It matters big-time. I have to tell you, a family whose members are financially struggling but manage to find $10 to donate is more charitable, in my opinion, than well-to-do families that send in $50 or $100 when they really could easily afford to send in $5,000 or $10,000 or more.

And keep in mind that Haiti will no doubt need our assistance for years. The key will be not just to make a one-time donation and feel that you have done your part. The key to making all this work will be for you to make that donation every month for a year or more till you see the problem has been solved.

Here is what I have found is one of the keys to financial freedom.

Start each month by opening up your hands to say thank you for what you have. Open up those hands each month by giving a respectable amount to those in need.

When you open up your hands and give a respectable amount of money away each month you feel generous. When you feel generous you feel powerful. And when you feel powerful, the No. 1 law of money goes into effect: Power attracts money; powerlessness repels it.

So in the end, by helping others you also end up helping yourself. We can all do this, one donation at a time.

If you want to learn more about relief organizations working in Haiti, click here.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of Suze Orman.