"Even if a person throws the rinsings of a bowl or a cup into a village pool or pond, thinking, 'May whatever animals live here feed on this,' that would be a source of merit."
— AN 3.57
The proper time, the proper occation for gifts:
Kaladana Sutta: Seasonable Gifts
"There are these five seasonable gifts. Which five? One gives to a newcomer. One gives to one going away. One gives to one who is ill. One gives in time of famine. One sets the first fruits of field & orchard in front of those who are virtuous. These are the five seasonable gifts."
In the proper season they give —
those with discernment,
responsive, free from stinginess.
Having been given in proper season,
with hearts inspired by the Noble Ones
— straightened, Such —
their offering bears an abundance.
Those who rejoice in that gift
or give assistance,
they, too, have a share of the merit,
and the offering isn't depleted by that.
So, with an unhesitant mind,
one should give where the gift bears great fruit.
Merit is what establishes
living beings in the next life.
One does good to remember that aside of normal ways of thinking of gain, own merits are ones person support for ones future.
So if one can inspire and move others to make deeds of generosity, moral conduct and reflextion on Dhamma, such is of real support for others, aside of the proper occations for material gift.
Generaly, which might be the question underlying thought, the Buddha does not encourage in ways of social actions and material support, which if done in improper ways, leads to bonds and often not really to support, like in Chritian or western popular ways of actions, often also with the religion string for the receiver.
Aside of the needed, the focus to nurish good tendencies and virtue, is much effectiver long time support, at least the gift of virtue excells material gift by far since material gift are at least not gained from nothing, might make other beings suffer and poor.
Therfore, (but not to use as an excuse of not giving if one has possibilities to give!! Which is actually a popular excuse under many Buddhists, a trap of defilements, supporting stingyness. Its good to be sure to be a "perfect" giver of outwardly things, one has, fist.)
This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: "There are these two kinds of gifts: a gift of material things & a gift of the Dhamma. Of the two, this is supreme: a gift of the Dhamma. There are these two kinds of sharing: sharing of material things & sharing of the Dhamma. Of the two, this is supreme: sharing of the Dhamma. There are these two kinds of assistance: assistance with material things & assistance with the Dhamma. Of the two, this is supreme: help with the Dhamma."
The gift he describes
as foremost & unsurpassed,
the sharing the Blessed One has extolled:
who — confident in the supreme field of merit,
wise, discerning —
wouldn't give it at appropriate times?
Both for those who proclaim it
and those who listen,
confident in the message of the One Well-gone:
it purifies their foremost benefit —
those heeding the message
of the One Well-gone.
It always recommended to give to those with virtues, those free of fetters and those stiving for freedom of the fetters (greed, aversion and delution) first, at least for the long time benefit of all beings. Other might use ones gifts at least not for the benefit of many. So a good amout of wisdom is required to make one a skilled person of giving.
[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma and not meant for commercial purpose or other low wordily gains by means of trade and exchange.]