The holiday season is here and the desire to give to charities is at an all time high. While the common school of thought is that any giving is helpful, there are some tips to making the experience of donating to charity the best for both you and most importantly, the charity.
Giving Undesired Items
Charities say that undesirable items are the most frustrating donations to receive. “People think they are doing you a huge favor by giving you dirty furniture or a beat up car,” said Eric Salmi, spokesperson for Catholic Charities. “But the quality of stuff is really important because we’re passing things off to people who we want to feel dignified.” Clothing items matter too! If you have clothes with large stains, use them as rags around the house instead of donating them. That way they will still be put to good use.
Not giving Cash
The Washington Post explains that while writing a check or clicking a “donate now” button may not generate the same warm fuzzies as watching an impoverished child open your gift, but don’t underestimate the value of giving straight cash. As charity groups recover from a recession, many groups rely on year-end gifts and other financial help to operate. For this reason, the United Way created the “Give Where You Live” holiday giving campaign where businesses can give cash directly to charities. This cuts out any work on your part as far as organizing a bake sale or coordinating a charity marathon in your community.
Over Diversifying your donation dollars.
Diversification may be a smart investing strategy in the business world, but spreading your money among many philanthropic endeavors isn’t a great idea, according to Forbes. That’s especially true if you give through social-media sites, since they often set low donation suggestions of $5 to $50, but may charge processing fees on those contributions. Instead, select a small number of well-run charities engaged in causes you care about then stick with them over the long term.
If you have made the decision to donate to charity, your heart is in the right place already. To make this as seamless as possible for your chosen charity, keep these tips in mind when deciding what and how you give. This holiday season, keep in mind that when donating, charities prefer usable items and cash. If possible, try to keep your monetary donations to a few charities you really care about, instead of spreading your money too thin.