The season of giving is coming upon us, and while we hustle and bustle to buy gifts for our loved ones, many of us open our hearts – and wallets – for charitable organizations. It’s important to remember to support those who may not be as fortunate as you are. I’ve comprised a list of tips to help you decide how to consider your donations wisely.
Intelligent Steps to Make the Most Impact of Your Donation
- For many of us, we have the best intentions and want to give to every charity possible, but our budgets say otherwise. Sometimes this can leave us feeling despondent or that our donations don’t matter, but that’s false. Like the old man in the modern Starfish Fable, even a small donation creates an impact.
- Choosing a charity doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You don’t have to give to every charity that comes around. It’s perfectly fine for you to say “not at this time,” and be picky about where your hard-earned cash goes.
- When deciding on a charity, be sure it really is a charitable organization. A charity, according to the IRS, will have a 501c3 on file. This ensures you maximize your donation, as you will also be able to claim the donation on your taxes.
- You should also check in to see what the Charity Navigator rating is of your chosen charity. It’s important to understand that some charities spend more on marketing or on administrative payroll than on the actual cause itself.
- Consider personal causes. Is the vision of the charity organization in line with your own personal beliefs? Are you donating because of a personal experience, or an experience for someone you love? Are you donating in memory of someone or something, and will that charity recognize your memorial?
- For some people, it’s important to see the direct impact of your donation. You may want to consider smaller, local charities such as your place of worship, or your local school. There are organizations, such as Donor’s Choose, where you will actually receive letters and/or photographs showing you how your donation made such an impact. For others, it’s more about the bigger cause and the bigger mission. Either direction is fine, just know yourself and what you expect in return.
- Check with your employer to find out if they match your donation. Many companies will offer to match whatever your donation is (usually up to a certain maximum), which also magnifies your donation impact. If you’re unsure about your company’s matching program, you can usually connect with the Human Resources Department or your direct administrator to find out if the program is available.
- Another idea for charity can be buying goods where a portion of the proceeds goes to benefit certain causes. For example, Greater Good offers you the opportunity to buy different products and a portion of the proceeds goes to a charity. Candle Moments recently launched the Om Charity Candle, where $2 of every Om Charity Candle purchase is given to the ASPCA.
Whatever charity choose, and in whatever denomination, remember that you are doing good and you are making an impact on the world. If it feels right, it probably is.