2020 has asked a lot of us. We have faced new challenges and relied on old ones, and often the world’s problems have collided with our own individual needs. Help, whether in the form of donations or even just attention, may have been difficult to provide when you needed it yourself.
If your finances are in better shape this giving season, you can be more strategic with your money. The same issues that were close to your heart last year may not be on your priority list now. The reverse may be true: You are more determined than ever to support the causes that matter to you.
Here are tips for prioritizing causes, supporting them effectively, and making room in your wallet for sustained giving.
Your priorities can shape your plan
Write down the two or three causes that matter most to you, whether it’s a global issue like slowing climate change or something closer to you like supporting your local animal shelter. This is the start of your giving plan. If you’re like me, a donation plan can serve as a guide to your dollars when tragic events grab your attention or photos of injured puppies on your social media feed play on your emotions. I end up giving impulse, which is useful and good in the moment, but it’s easy to forget and doesn’t have a lasting impact.
You can also take it one step further and really focus on your values ââin the giving plan, using them as fuel to be more intentional and proactive in your efforts beyond the holidays.
Think about what kind of philanthropist you want to be in 2022, then plan for it, says Holly Belkot, strategic giving manager at GlobalGiving, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit that supports other nonprofits. by putting them in contact with donors and businesses.
Planning doesn’t just apply to monetary donations or time spent volunteering. Say you care about climate change. Belkot suggests making a goal of learning something new about the effects of environmental damage in January, watching a documentary on deforestation in February, etc.
A small regular donation can have a big impact
One effective way to champion your favorite cause is to make small, recurring donations.
âRecurring donations are the lifeblood of nonprofits,â said Soraya Alexander, COO at Classy, ââa digital fundraising platform for nonprofits based in San Diego, California. Alexander says the majority of one-time donors don’t come back to support a nonprofit, and it’s a resource-intensive process for the organization to find new ones.
For millennials, she says, who are both passionate about sustained giving and already used to Netflix-style subscription payments, recurring giving is an easy way to make a big impact. âTen dollars a month will be more profitable for the organization and should make it easier for you to give more than what you normally feel comfortable with. “
Just as a monthly budget allows you to plan your expenses, these donations allow associations to plan their operations for the year. Since many organizations automatically sign up regular donors to receive newsletters or project updates, recurring donations also keep you engaged with the group.
How to choose the organization to support
You have your giving plan in hand and know the importance of recurring donations. Now, how do you actually choose where to send your money?
âIt can be really overwhelming when you care about something but don’t know what the ‘right’ nonprofit needs to support,â Belkot says.
To solve this conundrum, GlobalGiving selects a handful of nonprofits working on the same issue and aggregates them into a âfundâ to which individuals can donate. Examples include a Girl Fund, aimed at improving the lives of girls around the world, or a Climate Action Fund. Donations are split evenly among nonprofits, she said.
Another way to stay engaged and support the causes you care about is to invest socially, where you support businesses that impact your chosen issue.
Technology can also play a role in helping you decide where to donate, says Wale Mafolasire, CEO of Givelify, a mobile app that facilitates giving to churches and nonprofits, based in Indianapolis, Indiana. .
Givelify’s approach is similar to GlobalGiving funds. The company uses artificial intelligence to bring together the nonprofits involved in the app, explains Mafolasire. Givelify also highlights âtrending causesâ from which users can choose.
Resources like Charity Navigator, Candid (formerly GuideStar), and your local community foundation’s website are also good ways to check out nonprofits and choose the ones that are right for you.
Don’t think about it too much and don’t stress yourself out looking for the ârightâ organization, says Alexander. âDon’t let perfection be the enemy of good. Your dollars will do good.
This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press.
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Amrita Jayakumar writes for NerdWallet. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @ajbombay.
The article How to Maintain Generosity Beyond the Holidays originally appeared on NerdWallet.
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