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How to get your Giving Tuesday donations to those who need them most

·4-min read

This year marks the tenth anniversary of GivingTuesday, an annual holiday dedicated to charitable gifts and actions.

Participation in this holiday can be as small as a modest donation of clothes to a local Goodwill on up to a challenge by #GivingTuesdayMilitary, which encourages its community of military members, families, veterans, and patriotic supporters to share 1 million acts of intentional kindness.

Giving Tuesday promotes community charitable acts, like distributing food for the needy. (Getty Images)
Giving Tuesday promotes community charitable acts, like distributing food for the needy. (Getty Images)

WHAT IS GIVING TUESDAY?

This beneficent day was co-founded by New York City’s 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation and has since spread across the globe. As it falls near the end of the calendar year, many nonprofits encourage people to make their tax-deductible donations before the December 31 deadline.

In the decade since it began, Giving Tuesday has become much more than taking advantage of a tax bonus. It has become an international celebration of people helping one another.

For example, for this year’s Giving Tuesday, Nepal is planning a blood donation drive and a campaign to provide recycled clothes to those in need in Kathmandu. Here in the U.S., More than 300 organizations across the country will come together on November 30 for #GivingNewsDay to raise $55 million to sustain nonprofit news.

Yahoo Money spoke to Caryn Stein, chief communications officer of Giving Tuesday, to learn more.

HOW TO MAXIMIZE YOUR GIVING TUESDAY GIFT

“We try to encourage people just to be active — to engage at the grassroots, local level,” Stein said. “Ideally, you can tap into matching gifts via a specific event that has a giving match promised by a corporate partner. Also, find out if the company you work for has a matching-gift donation program before you give: If it does, make sure that the gift qualifies before you donate.”

The best way to determine if your company will match your gift is to speak to a representative at your human resources department.

Group activities like cleaning up beaches are rewarding and have a great impact. (Getty Images)
Group activities like cleaning up beaches are rewarding and have a great impact. (Getty Images)

MAKE IT A TEAM EFFORT

Stein recommended collective giving.

“Get together with a group, say your book club, form a giving circle, and share your passion with others,” Stein said. “It feels so good to tap into that idea of community that — for the past couple of years — that we have missed.”

If you can’t afford a cash donation, “you can give your time, advocacy, skills,” Stein said. If funds are low, setting up a monthly automatic donation can also be a good way to go.

“Monthly gifts are really important — nonprofits know that they have a certain amount of money coming in for the year, and they can budget accordingly,” Stein said. “No matter large or small, every act of generosity counts.”

If you want to be sure you can write off a particular gift, be sure to consult a tax professional.

HOW TO FIND A DESERVING NONPROFIT

When deciding where to donate on Giving Tuesday, start with something you feel most passionate about, say, animals, and research charities that help four-legged friends.

“Where exactly you give is a pretty subjective thing,” Stein said. “Look into what kind of work they are doing, how much of their budgets go to charitable work, not overhead.”

Stein recommended consulting online directories such as candid.org and charitynavigator.com or organizations in state, city, or town that can provide information on charities in your local area.

“Do a bit of research,” Stein said, “what did the organization accomplish in the past year?”

AVOIDING SCAMS

“I know that being taken advantage of when giving money is a fear, but scams don’t actually happen that much,” Stein said.

Research any organizations you’re planning to give to on the previously mentioned charity-monitoring websites.

“Obviously, don’t assume if you get a random text message that it's a real, valid charity,” Stein said. “Always look at a charity’s main website to make sure that it aligns with any programs you see online.”

Share your Giving Tuesday donations or volunteer activities with your online community. (Getty Images)
Share your Giving Tuesday donations or volunteer activities with your online community. (Getty Images)

BROADCAST YOUR GIFT

Share with others the importance of any gift you make — in conversation with friends and via social media. This is a really important way to maximize giving because you are a credible source of information and friends might be inspired to do their own giving.

IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE MONEY

For many, budgets are tight — especially after buying gifts on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.

“If you’re thinking about maximizing your giving, think of donating some stock, or your credit-card points or airline miles. We’re seeing people donating crypto,” Stein said. “A gift doesn’t have to come out of your checking account,

Consider other things you have that could be useful to a charity, like a car or even your time, Stein said.

“What we see is that people do multiple things on Giving Tuesday,” Stein said. “People are not just donating money, but are also volunteering at soup kitchens and other places that need a helping hand.”

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