New Year’s Resolutions for 2013: 6 Reasons Why You Should Increase Your Charitable Giving

Are you hoping to increase your charitable giving in 2013? Do you want to give but you aren’t sure if you even have enough money to pay your rent this month? I have good news for you: you can give. Giving can be challenging, it takes some risk for us to give of our time and our money, particularly when those are scarce resources. However, the reward of helping our neighbors, whether near or far, far outweighs the risk. Whether you are giving for the first time or just challenging yourself to do a little bit more, here are some great reasons why you should increase your charitable giving this year:

  • Purpose: Giving, whether of time or money, reminds us that we have a greater purpose  than just satisfying our own needs. Giving brings us outside of ourselves and teaches us that we each have the capacity to help our neighbor and to be helped by them.
  • Community: Giving connects us with the greater community, both local and global. Giving keeps us attuned to the world outside of ourselves and provides us with the opportunity to form new relationships.
  • Multiplication: When we give, what we have is multiplied to meet the needs of others. One of my favorite organizations, Feed My Starving Children, which feeds starving children around the world, can provide someone with a meal for 22 cents. I can’t even think of something that I can buy for 22 cents! Even a small donation can meet a lot of needs. A gift of $10 can provide 45 meals to starving children. For help, choosing a charity that will be able to multiply your gift check out this article.
  • Habit: Even if you can only give a small amount of time or money, this small step will help you begin a habit that will last a life time. Start by giving $10 and 1 hour/month to an organization of your choice and challenge yourself by doubling the amount next year.
  • Creativity: There are some many Creative Ways to Give Back through social media, click giving, recycling and much more, so even if you can’t give money you can still give. There are also many creative ways to volunteer that are both fun and helpful!
  • Two for One: In addition, you can give by giving gifts that give back. These are not only great gifts to give to a friend or relative, but they are also a way to give back to neighbors in your community or across the world. Great examples of this would be TOMs Shoes, The Giving Keys, and Oxfam America.

For more good reasons to give to charity check out this article. Still wondering where you are going to find an extra $10 to give? Start tracking your spending, especially the money you spend on food and drinks, more than likely you will find a few expenses that you could forgo each month in order to give like 2 lattes or one dinner out per month.

Join the Conversation: How are you increasing your charitable giving this year?

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The 4-Step Plan For Choosing Charities

Support Starving Children around the World! Support Abused Animals! Support the Environment! Support Your College! Support Victims of Natural Disasters! These days we seem to be bombarded with too many charities asking us to give our money to their causes. So, how do you choose between so many good causes? It can be a tough choice, but hopefully these four questions will help you discern which charities you want to give to.

  • Does the Charity Align with Your Values? Begin by making a list of what causes are important to you. Who do you want to help? What kind of work should the organization do? Do you want to give locally or globally? As you answer these questions you can begin to form a list of charities that you know of that match these values. If you want to find new charities that match your values you can use charitynavigator or justgive to search different charities.
  • How Much Does the Charity Spend Its Money? When you are considering a charity it is important to look at how much of a charity’s money is put towards the charity’s cause. A good way to do this is to look at administrative and fundraising costs vs. program costs. A good charity’s combined administrative and fundraising costs should make up 25% or less of their budget. Most charities will have this information easily accessible on their website. You should also verify this information by searching for the charity on a charity evaluator site, such as charity navigator. A charity evaluator will offer comprehensive information about the charity, including its finances, as well as offer the charity a rating.
  • Is the Charity Certified? It is important to check if your organization is legitimate, if it is registered as a charity by the IRS and if your donation is tax deductible. While most charity evaluators will have this information, it is important to check with the IRS directly. This process will help you to weed out dubious organizations and ensure that you are giving to the right charity.
  • Does the Charity Offer Other Ways to Get Involved Besides Giving Money? Volunteering is a great way to get to know a charity. You can see more clearly the ways that the charity lives out its mission as well as how it spends its money. If you want to give to a charity that you are not very familiar with this is a great way to solidify your decision to give.

 After you finish this process, you should feel confident about giving to the charity of your choice. For more information on choosing charities check out this msnbc article or this charity choices article.

 

Join the conversation: What charities do you support that reflect these criteria? Why did you choose to give to these charities?