There’s something about the holidays that helps bring out the best in people. Time spent with family and friends, shopping for loved ones, celebrating our beliefs…seem to create an environment of generosity and a desire to give back.
It’s no surprise that most charitable organizations receive a large percentage of their gifts in the final quarter of the year, with the most donations arriving between Thanksgiving and December 31.
While we applaud and encourage giving of all kinds — whether to help a friend or a well-known organization — your generosity goes further and is more meaningful when you give wisely.
With that in mind, here are some suggestions to consider before making charitable donations.
Be Intentional. For many of us, our giving is driven by in the moment decisions. Though this doesn’t lessen the impact your gift has on an individual or organization, you might get more emotional satisfaction by planning ahead. Sit down in advance of the holiday season and decide in who and what you want to support.
Research Your Options. Before donating, ensure the charity is an accredited organization with the Better Business Bureau by searching the BBB Wise Giving Alliance website at Give.org. You can also use CharityNavigator.org to review how a charity uses the donations they receive.
Be Cautious. There’s always a scammer ready to play the Grinch. Pay close attention to a charity’s name. It is not unusual for scammers to create sham charities with names similar to those of legitimate, well-known charities. And never provide banking information to an unsolicited caller or email on behalf of a charity. Learn more about the top 2021 holiday scams.
There’s More Than Money. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to make an impact during the holidays that involve little or no cost. Here is a great article on 33 Easy Ways to Give Back During the Holidays.
No matter what you give or how you give it this holiday season, your donations of time and financial support can make a huge difference— for others as well as for yourself. Give, but give wisely.