Monday, December 31, 2012

Giving...yeah I'm down for that but how do I choose where?

So as the minutes tick down to 2013 those of us thinking about our year and, let's face it - tax deductions, how do you choose where your giving goes?  I mean let's be honest here, there are a ton of organizations that really need the help, not to mention all the institutions calling for money (as though it is not enough that I give you all my money and signed away my first born to attend your school (totally worth it!) you still want more?!), and then there is your church, synagogue, mosque, or other religious institution.  Of course in a perfect world (eh, that must be in some alternate universe 'cus it sure isn't here) you would have given all year and not just in a monetary way, but we are talking penny pincher tactics at this point!  Don't worry we will get to other ways to give in a future post!

Here are a few ways I use to help my family make this decision:

  1. What organization has helped me in the past and I may continue to benefit from?  This one is a little selfish but you do need to soul search a bit.  My husband and I met in college (did not date until years later when we ran into each other - a story for another time) and both believe the scholarships, assistance, support, socialization, and education really helped to mold us into the people we are today and we hope to continue to share that with many others.  This could also be your place of worship, YMCA, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, or any place that is "feeding you" physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc. 
  2. If you could give money to a cause in hopes that one day they will never need your money again, how great would that feel?  Think money for a cure for... you fill in that blank.  Most of us have been touched by some sort of disease or tragedy in our lives and would love to do something about it so our kids never will.  Maybe this is the Alzheimer's Association, The American Cancer Society, or MADD - Mothers Against Drunk Driving.  How wonderful would it be to someday be able to say I gave to a cause that cured that disease or ended drunk driving?!? 
                                    http://www.cancer.org/index


     3.  Quick if you had $100 to give and had to give it to charity, who would you give it too?  Your gut is a powerful thing.  Just pipe down and listen.  I will just say that rescue animals will win for me 9/10. 
Who would give up this face? She saved me too!

     4.  Research.  A duh.  Of course you should check into areas of giving that interest you before you give willy nilly (ha that was even funnier to type than to think!).  Remember some of the Hurricane Katrina money that did not go to the people of New Orleans?  Yeah, that is low but well there are some pretty rotten people out there so beware.

Charity Navigator is America's premier independent charity evaluator. They help charitable givers make intelligent giving decisions by providing in-depth, objective ratings and analysis of the financial health and accountability & transparency of America's largest charities. Use Charity Navigator's simple searchable database to find a charity you can trust and support.

      5.  It never hurts to go with a charity you like that is also offering the ability for a match.  This may mean your own employer will provide a $1 for $1 match or maybe a % of your donation match.  Or maybe someone with a nice wad wants to help a little more and offer more incentive to others to give and offers a match.  Either way you have to think you are possibly doubling your giving without actually spending the extra.  Win-win-win!!

But the real lesson of this is just to get busy and give!  Trust me the benefits of giving far out way the extra latte you were going to get this week.  Just think, you could feed the hungry and watch your  weight by cutting eating out one time a month - that might be $5 a month but for a year that is $60 to potentially feed a family for up to a month in some situations.  How awesome is that? 

So get busy and give.  Oh and Happy New Year to all of you!!!!

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