How to Give Wisely This Season
If you’re going to give, it makes sense to do it intelligently and for the right reasons. Here are four steps to making sure your hard-earned money goes to a cause that reflects your values and will have the most impact.
Step 1: Research the organization.
Have you heard of the website Charity Navigator? This site rates many charities based on certain criteria, like CEO salary, percent of money directly benefiting those in need, and dollars raised per year. Taking these into consideration, Charity Navigator assigns a grade to different organizations. You don’t want to donate your hard-earned money to a charity or non-profit without doing your research first. Some smaller local charities may not be listed on this site, but don’t let that stop you from doing your own research.
Step 2: Think about why you’re donating.
Donating to a charity will mean more to you if you believe in its mission. Figure out what you’re passionate about… whether it’s animal welfare, helping the homeless, supporting children, or any other cause… there is a charity for almost everything. Giving should feel good and be based on your own personal beliefs.
Step 3: Consider donating your time instead.
Organizations do need money to function; that’s just a given. But they also need volunteers. It’s so important to know the difference between charity and philanthropy. Donating your time can be so rewarding, as you meet new people and actually get to see the fruits of your labor. If you simply can’t afford a monetary donation, donate your time.
Step 4: Give from the heart.
If you decide you’re ready to donate your money, be proud of your decision. Know that you’ve made it through a clutter of companies fighting for your money with marketing campaigns, guilt tactics, and tax benefits. If it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t. And frankly, you have no one to answer to except yourself. Giving from your heart will make the most impact for everyone.