Considerations for Meaningful Contributions
As the whirlwind of Black Friday and Cyber Monday subsides, Giving Tuesday emerges as a beacon of compassion and generosity. This global day of charitable giving provides an opportunity to shift our focus from material pursuits to making a positive impact in the lives of others. In the spirit of giving, let’s explore some meaningful considerations to ponder on this Giving Tuesday and beyond.
1. Define Your Passion:
Begin by identifying causes that resonate with your values and passions. Whether it’s education, healthcare, environmental conservation, or social justice, pinpointing what matters most to you will guide your giving in a purposeful direction. For me, what matters most are the organizations I’ve seen true impact from their programs. This Giving Tuesday, I focused my energy on Girls on the Run (NYC), Challenged Athletes Foundation, and Cardinal Hayes High School (in full transparency my sister works here!). Aligned with my passion of engaging and empowering students through sport and academics.
2. Research Charities:
Not all charities operate the same way or allocate funds equally. Take the time to research and evaluate organizations to ensure they align with your values and use donations effectively. Websites like Charity Navigator or GuideStar can be valuable resources for assessing a charity’s financial health and transparency. Check recent news to understand the impact they have and how your donation will be used.
3. Setting Realistic Goals
Establish clear and realistic giving goals based on your financial capacity. Whether you’re making a one-time donation or setting up a recurring contribution, thoughtful planning ensures sustainable and impactful giving. This can be done now or even at the beginning of the year. How much will I give and when will I give it? Set aside your budget for giving during the year and stick to it. Here are tips for incorporating giving into your annual financial plan from PNC Bank.
4. Explore Matching Programs:
Many employers offer donation matching programs, effectively doubling the impact of your contribution. Check with your workplace to see if they participate in such initiatives and take advantage of the opportunity to amplify your giving. Some matching programs even give more on days like Giving Tuesday. You can even follow the matching opportunities at your favorite charities. Oftentimes, there is a board match or a donor match period. See this example from the Michael J. Fox Foundations for Parkinson’s Research. A group of families will be matching up to $4 million.
5. Encourage Others to Join
Giving Tuesday is not just about individual contributions; it’s a collective effort to make a difference. Encourage friends, family, and colleagues to participate in this day of giving, creating a ripple effect of positive change. Share what you are doing for Giving Tuesday on social media, in your family or friends text chat. Inspire others to give too. Some just forget and appreciate that word of encouragement. Here are some tips shared on inspiring others to do good that I keep saved in my bookmarks: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20-specific-ways-inspire-others-make-positive-impact-ruzanna/
6. Volunteer Your Time:
While monetary donations are valuable, your time and skills can also make a significant impact. Consider volunteering with local organizations or charities that align with your values. Sometimes, the gift of time can be just as valuable as a monetary contribution. It is also a great way to understand the inner workings of an organization. Does this organization align with my values and the impact I want to have? It’s also a great way to give. Maybe you have a skillset that they need and cannot afford. Find some great opportunities here: https://www.volunteermatch.org/search?l=USA&cats=17&gclid=CjwKCAiAmZGrBhAnEiwAo9qHiYCTyfiU2Zan2IuVyxLqVfDY_aTX5NweHnbMsv9vHJXSBxlQNzqYlxoCzxUQAvD_BwE
7. Plan for Long-Term Impact:
Think beyond the immediate impact of your contribution. Consider supporting organizations with a long-term vision and strategies for sustainable change. Long-lasting impact often requires ongoing support and commitment. Maybe you can’t give or volunteer today but maybe you can start to plan both for the future. Here are some things to consider as you plan your bequest: https://www.gwadvisors.net/charitable-bequest/
As we embrace Giving Tuesday, let’s take a moment to reflect on the power of our collective generosity. By considering these aspects, we can transform this day into a catalyst for positive change, fostering a spirit of giving that extends far beyond the holiday season. Whether big or small, every act of kindness contributes to a brighter and more compassionate world.
We’ll leave you this week with a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that I hold close to my heart, “We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it as not as dreadful as it appears, discovering that we have the strength to stare it down.”
About the Author
Annie Rhodes has spent over 25 years in the philanthropy and tech sector helping social good organizations embrace data to drive impact. Annie joined the Wishes team to help strengthen the connection between those who want to give and the causes they want to give to. Prior to Wishes Annie was the Chief Strategy Officer at UpMetrics. Preceding Annie’s leap into philanthropic tech in 2010 she spent more than 10 years at the Ford Foundation. Annie taught a part-time class at Columbia University’s SPS Nonprofit Masters Program and Nonprofit Analytics and Metrics. She holds an MBA from Pace University and is an active volunteer with Girls on the Run NYC and the Challenged Athletes Foundation.