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How To Participate In The Most Generous Season

If you have made giving to charitable organizations part of your financial plan throughout your retirement, congratulations. You are not alone in your desire to help others. According to, “For the 38th time in the past 40 years, charitable giving increased year over year in 2018, according to Giving USA. Americans donated a total of $427.71 billion – nearly $292 billion of which came from individual donors. Forecasts call for a further increase in charitable giving in 2019, when the final figures are tallied, but much depends on how generous we feel this holiday season. ’Tis indeed the season for generosity, as a significant portion of all charitable donations are usually made in the month of December.”

Giving Is Good

We’ve all heard that it’s better to give than to receive. The reason for this is expressed in so many sayings including, “as we do unto others, we do unto ourselves,” and “what goes around comes around.” Of course, there are dozens of other quotes, but you get my point. Charitable organizations serve our communities and our world with much needed services and aid. We cannot expect our governments to tend to every existing need and it is our responsibility to help our fellow human beings in the ways that we can. In case you are in the giving mood, I’m posting helpful tips from to help you discover some things to keep in mind when looking for ways to make sure your donations actually serve the cause you desire to help

How To Choose A Charity

Find A Cause First: It’s not about the charity but rather the work that it does. So make a list of the causes you care about most before researching specific organizations involved in that area. This will help you avoid losing the forest for the trees, emphasizing the beneficiary over the conduit.

Ask For Recommendations

People trust reviews from friends and family above all else, so ask your social network for some

charitable suggestions. You may even want to ask subject-matter experts for their thoughts. For example, your veterinarian could suggest a good animal-related charity, and an environmental scientist at your local university could suggest a climate-oriented organization. All of their experiences and viewpoints will undoubtedly help you make a better choice.

Do Your Research

It’s always important to do your due diligence before spending money with a company, professional or nonprofit for the first time. So check your chosen charity’s website. See how it’s being covered in the press. And look into its financials. In particular, check how much of the organization’s funds are being used for its stated cause compared to marketing and administrator salaries.

Spread The Love

You don’t have to pick just one charity. Donations are kind of like crowdfunding in the sense that a lot of people giving small amounts leads to relatively large sums at the end of the day. So don’t try to solve one problem all by yourself. Consider giving small amounts to numerous charities in order to help address the various issues that you care about.

Earmark Funds For Something Specific

The more you donate, the more control you’ll be able to exert over how the funds are used. So if you want your donation to be used to improve the conditions of the cages in an animal shelter rather than administrators’ salaries or marketing, for example, inquire with your organization of choice about the possibility of designating a donation for something specific. If they say it’s not possible, take your donation elsewhere (or at least make clear that you’re willing to).

Don’t Forget About Goods & Services

You don’t have to give money to make a difference. You can also donate clothing, food and even your time. A lot of people actually wonder whether it’s better to donate time or money, and we have a handy calculator that can help you make that decision based on your personal situation.

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