A new year (and decade) is upon us. As we look forward to the new year, we are filled with thoughts of new possibilities and possibly even some resolutions. As such, you may be wondering what more you could do to increase your charitable contributions in 2020, or feel ready to make some donations.
Deciding Where to Donate
When selecting an organization to support or partner with, it’s essential to choose a cause that you feel is close to your heart. A quick internet search for non-profits will often bring back an overwhelming number of charities in the area, so beginning by thinking about personally meaningful causes can help to whittle down the list. A great resource to use to find non-profit organizations that give deductions for donations is GuideStar by Candid. Using their search engine, you can put in your state, zip, city, county, and even a radius around the area to search for local non-profit organizations.
Feeling unsure of where to donate? It is important to consider meeting with your financial professional to review your options thoroughly. Whether you’ve donated to charity before or not, the first steps in giving are to learn about the organizations available and determine how much monetary support you can provide.
Why Charitable Donations Are Important
It may seem that others around you aren’t being particularly philanthropic, so why should you? Well the reality is that many individuals choose to donate or support causes privately. They very well may be donating their time, resources or supporting their selecting causes in another way, but just may be doing so without drawing attention to that fact.
And, while some donate to official charities, others may just help out strangers as they walk down the sidewalk. According to GivingUSA.com American individuals, bequests, foundations and corporations gave an estimated $427.71 billion to U.S. charities in 2018. But, even if everyone else isn’t donating, it makes an enormous difference for just one person to help out another. A $1 donation is a dollar that the charity didn’t have before, which may help them afford more food for one more person. Taking 30 minutes out of your day to help pass out food at a homeless shelter helps the other people there and makes everyone that walks in feel welcome. Though we may not see others acting in altruistic ways, a vast majority of us do without necessarily drawing attention.
How to Donate
A common concern arises about how to know if a charity is legitimate. One of the easiest ways to find out if a charity is following its standards is to do some digging. You can utilize the list of charities the IRS has data on, use the GuideStar search engine to see the organization and its’ reputability, or use Charity Navigator to search for a specific charity and learn what questions you should be asking before making your donation.
Think Outside The Wallet
Not all charitable contributions have to be monetary. You could also consider volunteering in an animal shelter, a church, or with a community group. Time is one of the many forms of donations many organizations appreciate–volunteer work is a great way to give your time to your community and reach out, help, and connect with those in need. Donating needed items can be an incredible way to get involved, particularly in the winter months. Many charities and organizations accept donations to help those in areas you may otherwise not be able to impact, such as Doctors Without Borders. This is an organization that provides medical care to remote areas that would otherwise be prone to many diseases, injuries, and other life-threatening situations. Lastly, any items can also be beneficial to your community–clothes, toiletry items, and even food given to shelters are great forms of charity.
Charitable Giving shouldn’t be a special occasion type of thing you do–you can help out year-round. There are people all around the world, in our communities, states, and other countries, who are less fortunate than we may be able to understand. Every little action, every single penny, every item, makes a difference in someone’s life. It shows that we care, we recognize someone’s struggle, and we’re here to support them. Donating isn’t a way to enable someone but to get them on their feet–to give them a platform to rise to success or live a life that isn’t threatened continuously by circumstances they’ve been unable to avoid. Any action you take this year will provide someone with the gift of love, compassion, and caring. Contact us today for a review of your charitable opportunities!