During the holidays, many of us suddenly become hyper-aware of just how fortunate we really are and choose to donate extra time and money to help those in need.
According to a recent post of the Nonprofit Fundraising Survey, more than half of the American non-profit organizations reported that a quarter of their contributions are collected between October and December, while 16% of all organizations received over half their year’s total contributions during those months.
This time of year is a great time to organize and tailor your charity plan. Below are five ways to keep your methods for giving back smart and effective.
- Create a Mission Statement
There is a valid reason why organizations like ours develop a mission statement. It’s a way to organize values into a streamlined concept that you can visualize and achieve. Individuals should take a note from their business pals and create a mission statement of their own, centered around their charity goals.
According to a study by Fidelity Charitable, only 22% of its 1,042 donors had a solid mission statement crafted for their giving plan.
“A mission statement is very personal, but it really identifies what’s important to you and helps you prioritize your giving,” Amy Danforth, President of the organization, said.
Developing a personal giving mission statement puts your goals into perspective. It is the first step to understanding how to give back to charities you care about. Your “how” should include methods such as donations or volunteering, along with goals for giving back like budget and time.
A concrete plan increases your likelihood of following through with your charitable acts.
- Develop a Budget
Budgeting is crucial for all aspects in life, including charitable donations and time. It’s important to be realistic about giving back.
If you have $5 dollars to spare every week, factor that into your overall budget. If you plan your charitable spending with your bills and utilities, you will keep donations on your priority list.
“The more you align your spending with your priorities, the better you will feel. By spending money on things you truly care about—things that bring you joy—you are decreasing the uncertainty, stress and anxiety about what your money is doing,” You Need a Budget founder Jesse Mecham said in a blog post.
During the holiday season, ensure that you’re budgeting for your donations along with your gifts. This is the time of year when expenses increase and you do not want to slip on your donation plan.
- Choose a Cause you Care About
When you have a passion for something, you’re more likely to get excited about getting involved. Our passion is shining light on worthy causes and the people that help make them work. For instance, we’ve been able to talk about and help share several worthy causes so far this year including Chive Charities, One Simple Wish, The Teen Project and Autism Speaks.
Use this passion to find organizations that spark your interest and pick those organizations as your selected charities. Start out with one charity and work your way up to more. When you focus on one passion, you can test different ways of giving back and use those experiences as lessons learned for the future.
- Recruit Family and Friends
One of the smartest ways to give back during the holidays – and any time of year – is getting other people on board.
For the holidays, team up with your family, friends or office and adopt a family. Organizations including the Salvation Army provide resources for groups to adopt a local family and collect donations to give them a cheerful holiday. Groups collect clothing, toiletries, toys and other items on the families’ needs list and bring their donations directly to the family or the organization to be distributed and enjoyed.
When you work together with a group, you can make a greater impact and increase your giving power.
- Volunteer Reasonably
It’s wonderful that you’re interested in giving back, but it’s crucial that you remain realistic. When volunteers start with an organization, they may want to get involved with many activities and projects, but it’s very each to get burnt out. Once these volunteers get burnt out, they are not useful and not giving back.
Be smart and realistic about your availability. The holidays are an especially busy time of year, which means you need to readjust your volunteer schedule to accommodate family gatherings and other responsibilities that arise with the season.
Volunteer coordinators should respect your time and they will appreciate your honesty because it keeps you on board for the future.
The holiday season is a great time to get involved. Take this season to learn what you’re interested in and create a charity-driven mission statement that sparks opportunities throughout your lifetime.