You likely already know that today is Giving Tuesday, designed as a respite for all that spending we do on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Today is a great time, at the end of year (important for tax deductions) and in the spirit of the season, to do a big portion of your annual giving and support of non-profits and charitable organizations.
Be sure you know and understand the mission and purpose of the organizations you support. Many of us have gotten into a habit of giving to the large organizations with broad name recognition, because we assume they do the best, most potent work. Often, this is thinking that is sadly off target. Some of the best known are the least efficient at service, with huge advertising and fundraising budgets, bloated executive director salaries, and more energy put into sustaining the company than in fulfilling the mission.
Check out your cause or foundation in the database of an impartial third party reviewer, like Charity Navigator. If you discover your favorite charity is not doing the work you thought they were, don’t get discouraged about giving, just know that there are others in the same space, serving the same mission, who run a little more leanly and effectively and could put your dollars to better use. Here is a great resource list of the Highest Rated and Lowest Rated Charities by Cause compiled by Charity Navigator.
Giving Tuesday is an important and highly visible campaign to create a NATIONAL DAY OF GIVING at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations. We had our day for giving thanks, a few days for getting deals, now it’s a day for giving back. It’s not just big organizations that are behind it, small, grassroots charities drive the engagement and power behind the movement. There are #GivingTuesday campaigns in countries all around the world, with thousands of partners with special initiatives and projects tied to this day, so it is super easy for you to get involved. Choose your favorite cause and give: time, money, both (or a commitment to show up and volunteer soon)…then spread the word…be audacious and vocal about your good deeds, it will inspire others. If you let the rest of us know what inspires you most and who you support, it helps us discover new gems we might embrace in our own charitable giving–and THAT is how you spread a movement!
Keep your eyes peeled this time of year for programs that allow you to give or give extra or match your donations with no effort or extra outlay from you. For instance, when online shopping at Amazon, if you simply log in by typing smile.amazon.com you will go through their charity portal. Choose your charity and every eligible purchase you make will automatically generate a donation to your cause, without raising your price or requiring extra effort. Here is a blog post with more detail.