Donations come in all shapes, sizes and dollar amounts. Charitable giving is something all of us need to do, and I don’t mean donating our junk to AmVets or Goodwill. What I mean is actually donating hard-earned cash to charities and not-for-profits and those they serve who need the money now more than ever to stay afloat.
I was so thrilled with myself when I got the call from the police federation, or fraternal order of police or firefighters, etc. The guy, always persistent and ticked off when I say “take me off the list,” opened the call with “Hi, Jayme, this is a paid fund-raiser for the blah, blah. Can we count on your donation today just like last time and is your address blah, blah?”
And, I said to his mouthful, “How much of my donation goes to the charitable organization you’re fund-raising for?” When he said 20 percent, I said, “thanks, but NO thanks.” We need to consider that more…where does our dollar go when donating to not-for-profits?
There are more than 1.5 million not-for-profits in the U.S. according to Foundation Center. There are ways to check on the ratio of operations dollars to services dollars. I like this site, Charity Navigator. It offers plenty of resources for donors.
Think about the last time you made a charitable donation. Was it for Haiti? Was it for the Gulf vicitims of the oil spill? Was it for Hurricane Katrina? Are you merely a crisis giver? Or, perhaps you have a list of organizations you give to each year who appreciate your donation because they’re managing on a shoe-string budget. Maybe you’re a micro donor and text $10 when the call to action comes in or use Kiva or other fair-trade organization to share your wealth. I found Danny Brown’s 12for12K.org on Twitter and was happy to donate to its causes in 2009. There was a familiar and trustable face doing the soft ask.
Whatever your style of sharing money with those less fortunate, please ensure you have a style.
- Start small with $10 given somewhere, but please start!
- G to Kiva and give it as a gift (that’s how I was turned on to it; as a birthday gift to me).
- Answer the invitation by a fund-raising committee of a local not-for-profit with $25, or go all out and donate $100.
It’s all tax-deductible, too, although speak with your accountant to ensure you follow federal guidelines about that.