Black Friday and Cyber Monday revenue ballooned this year, but also rising are the numbers attached to charitable giving initiative #GivingTuesday, which experts predict to raise as much as $250 million this year. In the spirit of the season, we’ve put together a few tips about how to make sure your gift does the most good possible.
How to Maximize Your Impact & Give Smartly
- Think about what causes you’re most passionate about, and the scope you’re interested in (local vs global). We also recommend thinking of organizations that may be particularly vulnerable due to a lack of government funding.
- Once you’ve chosen a cause, or several, do your research. Make sure they’re a 501c3 non-profit to ensure your money is used most efficiently; for example, many of the ‘Give a Dollar’ campaigns you see in the grocery store are actual for-profit endeavors. Try to find charities that are transparent, ethical and have a solid track record. You can even use resources like Glassdoor or Charity Network to see how much the executives of a particular organization make or you can request to review their 990s.
- Choose between monthly donations vs. an annual gift. Monthly donations provide an organization with stability, but larger gifts allow an organization to do more, so either are viable ways to give. Likewise, sticking to an organization for multiple years allows the organization to rely on, and plan on donors like you, so do your research before choosing who to donate to.
- If money is tight but you still want to give back, remember you can donate time by volunteering or, for certain organizations, donate in-kind gifts in lieu of money. Also consider endeavors like AmazonSmile, which donates to charity every time you shop on Amazon.
- After you donate, try to stop paper solicitations so the organizations don’t waste resources. Most companies have an option to select electronic communication.
- Remember you can deduct most charitable giving on your taxes. Donations are qualified in the year that you pay for them, and there are limits on how much you can give but they’re very high. Remember to keep documentation of all of your gifts, including in-kind donations.
- And last but not least, spread the word about #GivingTuesday to inspire your community to do the same!