Are you deluged – all year long, but particularly as the year comes to a close – by charitable giving solicitations? Does your heart go out to every cause? Do you feel obligated to donate? Wish there were a better way? Here are my suggestions for organized charitable giving, with personal examples:
1. Determine Your Charitable Giving Budget
Charities will nickel and dime you to death if you let them. If you decide how much you can afford to give each year, and stick to your budget, you will feel better about giving.
2. Select Your Favorite Causes
If you have a soft spot for animals, by all means donate to groups that help animals. But you don’t have to donate to every animal charity! Pick one or two. Your donations will make more of an impact that way.
How I give: My charitable giving is directly linked to remembering people who were important in my life and have passed away. The charities I give to in their honor were either their own favorites, or causes that remind me of them. Examples: I donate to Nature Conservancy for my Mom, because it was her favorite and she enjoyed visiting their nature preserves. I donate to American Cancer Society in the name of a dear friend who died of cancer.
3. Schedule Your Giving
If you are an end-of-the-year giver, that’s fine. Just don’t forget to do it! If you are concerned about tax deductions, sit down and actually write your checks (or make online payments, like I do) before the year slips away. Schedule an annual reminder on your calendar. Or, perhaps a monthly plan would work better for you. Divide your charitable giving budget by 12 and rotate donations among the charities you have chosen.
When I give: I make donations on my loved ones’ birthdays as a way of remembering them. I mark them on my calendar and disregard mid-year solicitations.
4. Ignore the Rest
You don’t have to donate to every cause, or even to your own favorite charity, every time they ask for more! If you stick to your budget, and to your schedule, you can safely — and with a satisfied mind and heart — discard additional requests without opening them, or say, “I’ve already donated,” when they call you on the phone.
Exceptions I make: If a close living friend or relative is, for example, running a marathon for a good cause and asks directly for a donation, my policy is to always say yes!
Are you deluged with solicitations? Do you have a donation policy or system in place? Please share with us in the comments below!
Copyright 2011-2015 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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