For giving! Well, truth is, giving should not be just a seasonal thing. The spirit of generosity, especially for those in need, is one we should have year-round. (I know I do.) But whether you're giving financial gifts, food or gifts of your time, you want to be sure that your generosity is going to a worthwhile cause. It's sad to say, there're some out there who take advantage of our generosity. The biggest mistake many people make is to donate impulsively. Charity scams rely on your not doing a background check on their intentions and track record. Don't fall for them. Spend 10-15 minutes, online perhaps, doing proper research to make sure a particular charity is legitimate and reputable. You can go to irs.gov to confirm that a charity is eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions.
Before contributing, always go directly to the charity's web site to make sure it's a reputable one.
If someone calls you claiming to represent a charity, ask them to mail you a hard-copy letter. Often, they won't if they're not legitimate. If you see a link on social media for a charity, don't click through to it. The link could be an imposter and may not take you to the actual charity. Always go directly to the charity's web site instead.
Here's another idea. Aim to give more to fewer charities. $100 to one charity will have more impact than giving $20 to five. For instance, if a certain social issue is more important to you, put all your eggs in that basket and stick with it for a few years. Keep in mind, it costs charities a lot of money to recruit new donors. If you're loyal for multiple years to one charity, you're saving them money that would otherwise be spent for recruitment, rather than letting them spend that money on actual need. And remember, no amount is too small. Small gifts added together can make a big impact.
If you don't have momey to help a worthwhile charity, there are other ways you can help.
If you don't have money to help worthwhile charities, there are other ways you can help. Be a cheerleader for a good charity. Research shows that one of the biggest reasons people give to a cause is because friends and family members ask them to. Post about the organizations you care about on social media, work an information booth at an event, or hang signs, where businesses permit, to help spread awareness.
The folks at the Red Cross are one of my favorite charities. They do so much good year-round, and are always there to help in times of disaster. Maybe you can volunteer to be a bell ringer for them this year. And don't forget, besides money, there are surely other charities in your hometown that can benefit from your volunteer work. That can be just as important as giving money. Set aside some time to give of yourself this holiday season.
Tis the season to give!
Yes, tis the season to give but think of the many ways you can do just that. Volunteer at a senior center, donate to a food bank or help serve meals for groups that feed the homeless. And even if you don't have money to give, you can still spread the joy of this season by giving a little bit...of YOU!