Remember The Joy of Giving to Charity This Holiday
By David Dierking
I came across a bit the other day that caught me a little bit by surprise (although it probably really shouldn’t). Despite an unemployment rate still hovering around 10% and despite pay freezes at many companies across the country and despite many middle income individuals still fighting to take care of their families, charitable giving is actually up. It really reminded me how so many people, even in light of their own personal struggles, still make it a priority to take care of those less fortunate than themselves. And I was inspired.
I got into the spirit last year and made a donation not to one of the big name charities out there but instead to my high school’s music program. Not that there’s anything wrong with the big charities but I liked the idea of contributing to a group that I had a personal connection with. I knew the teachers and the school and I felt like I was giving back to a group that had given me so much during my younger years and I knew exactly who would benefit from my donation and how they would be benefiting. For me, it was an easy choice.
Another charity I like to support with the same education in schools theme is Donors Choose. Donors Choose is a great organization because it allows teachers from all over the country to submit requests to fund specific projects or items for their classrooms. You can support everything from class trips to science lab equipment to basic supplies. The best part of Donors Choose is that if you make a specific dollar contribution or finish funding a project you’ll get handwritten drawings and thank you notes from the kids who benefit from your generosity. That alone, in my opinion, is worth every penny!
These are just my personal choices. Everybody knows that there’s no shortage of well-meaning charitable organizations fighting for your dollars this holiday. You want to help them all but you know that’s going to be impossible so you’ll need some help in narrowing down the choices. When deciding which organizations to support you can now do all sorts of research on almost any charity on the planet thanks to the internet.
Start by taking a look at Charity Navigator website. It’s a great site because you can search for charities based on causes or themes that are important to you, which ones turn around and give the most money back to those who they’re supporting and which ones spend the least on administrative costs. Their special “Holiday Giving Guide” section of the site provides some great ideas and tips on how to make the most out of your holiday giving and mentions a few organizations that could use special help this holiday season.
Christmas is the season of giving. If you haven’t already, please consider making a donation to charity. It may be the best investment you make all year.
Photo credit: mykroc.org
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