Choosing Charities for Your Holiday Giving

As you may or may not have known, this past Tuesday (the one following the Thanksgiving weekend) was Giving Tuesday. Meant to spur charitable giving, the day continues to grow in popularity — and, anecdotally, has inspired some to forgo the typical holiday gift exchange in favor of raising funds for their favorite non-profits. But, what if you don’t have a preferred charity you want to support?

4 Things to Consider When Choosing a Charity

Something that’s rarely talked about when it comes to giving is how difficult it can be to decide what charities you want to give to. With that, here are a few ideas to help get you thinking:

Consider current events

This year’s Giving Tuesday came as recovery efforts continued in California following wildfires that devastated large areas of the state. As reports about the rising death toll and loss of property poured in, many Americans opened their wallets to give to organizations that were helping those affected. With so much rebuilding left to do (especially with flooding now hitting some of the impacted areas), there’s no doubt that these types of charities will be top of mind for many this holiday season. Meanwhile, other tragedies are affecting communities around the world, with organizations in those areas also likely in need of your help.

Look to lesser-known causes

In America, there are certain organizations that the vast majority of individuals are familiar with. Yet, for each of those big names and causes, there are dozens — if not hundreds — of smaller non-profits looking to make a difference. Many of these charities do outstanding work, but may not have the mainstream exposure they need to keep their efforts going.

One great resource for finding these lesser-known organizations is Charity Navigator. The site not only serves as a search engine for all kinds of organizations but also offers insight into how non-profits operate, how efficient they are with their donations, and more. Beyond this site, it may be worth doing additional online research to find charities doing work you believe in.

Give to causes you believe in

Often times, people use the terms “charities” and “non-profits” interchangeably. However, there are plenty of non-profit organizations that might not exactly fit under the banner of charity. That said, this doesn’t mean that they’re any less worthy of your support. In fact, whether you’re looking to inspire political change or fund research endeavors, there’s likely a non-profit organization that could use your donation.

Ask friends for input

Finally, if you’re still wondering what non-profits you should give to, consider asking your loved ones if they have any recommendations. They may have some literature or personal insights that could help you make your decision a bit easier. Of course, at the end of the day, it’s your choice to make.

Even though Giving Tuesday has come and gone, it’s never too late to donate to charities and other non-profits. In fact, you may even decide that, this year, you may want to ask friends and family to give to the organization of your choice in lieu of the traditional gift giving. While narrowing down your list of options can be difficult at times, the truth is that there are plenty of great charities worthy of your donations. 

Author

Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site LaughingPlace.com and the founder of Money@30.com.

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When giving donations, I personally try to give to those who are not so popular and receiving less donations.

Its a great act to give to charities but its important to give to the one that goes with your ideals and those who needs your help most.

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