Most of us want to give back to our community and positively impact an issue we care about, but rarely have the time or space to be intentional about where we donate. Below are some simple tips to get you started on your giving path.
Step 1: Time to Reflect
Find 30 minutes alone or with your partner to talk about your giving history and patterns. List the nonprofits that you currently donate to or volunteer with (it's fine if your list is short or you can't remember all of them). Ask yourself questions such as ... are you connecting/not connecting to places you currently give to? Do you have a favorite? If so, why? How much on average do you donate?
Step 2: Identify Passion Area(s)
As you reflect on your giving patterns, is there a theme that surfaces? If your answer is "no", what do you want it to be? What are you passionate about/what issues do you want to impact? Do you lean toward local or global issues or both? By narrowing your focus, your dollars (no matter how big or small) will go farther and you will have a better chance of creating a long-term connection to the nonprofits you support.
Step 3: Amount to Donate
Decide on a percentage of your income or dollar amount to donate. Then figure out how to divide your funds. For example, donate 75% to one passion area (i.e. educating underserved youth) and 25% to be given spontaneously throughout the year. Or if you have a partner, split the funds. For example, you each donate 40% to your individual passion area and the remainder you can donate together.
Step 4: Nonprofit Research & Vetting
Identify nonprofits that align with the issues/causes that matter most to you. Make sure the organization(s) is legit and positively impacting the community they serve. This can feel overwhelming if you're starting from scratch but there are many resources available to help you. Click below to learn more about how to find and vet nonprofits.
Step 5: Timeline for Giving
Give yourself a deadline for donating. Perhaps include in your monthly bill cycle so it becomes routine. Or set-up online reoccurring donations instead of doing a large donation at year-end.
Step 6: Donate
Make it happen. This is the fun part.
Step 7: Corporate Match
Does your company match? Take advantage of it.
Step 8: Thank You Note
Make sure you get one from the nonprofit for tax purposes.