The end of the year is upon us (anyone else really feeling like 2017 flew by?!) and with it comes a sense of reflection and intention setting. One thing I’m always very cognizant of during the holidays is that I am very lucky. I am housed, fed, clothed, and have phenomenal health insurance (thanks, work!). There are a lot of people who are struggling this time of year and, though that may be the case for the rest of the year, too, there’s something about the holidays that make it seem especially difficult if you are not enjoying as fortunate circumstances.
For these reasons, I find it useful to review my donating strategies around this time
- Devise a plan. Research and explore lots of options before settling on a certain nonprofit to donate to. There are many resources out there to assist in finding the right charity for you, and verifying that their 501(c)(3) status is up to date (ProPublica has a great one. And the Frugalwoods have an excellent post on the more nitty gritty financial side of things).
- Set up recurring donations. Just as I’m a huge believer in the “set it and forget it” strategy of investing, similarly I deploy this for my donations as well. If I had to remember every month that I was interested in giving money to certain organizations, undoubtedly it would fall through the cracks at one point or another. Setting up automatic, recurring donations is the easiest way to know you are for sure supporting those causes you believe in! It is also supremely helpful to charities to know they have regular contributions coming in.
- Review the year and your own intentions. Use this time of year to review those automatic donations you’ve set up. Do you still find yourself tied to those charities? And supporting their missions? Has something happened over the year that has made your beliefs shift, or your priorities change? If that’s the case, it’s ok to change up who and how you’re giving!
If money is tight for you but you’d still like to find a way to give back (during the holidays or otherwise!), there are so many other ways to donate. Here are just a few ideas:
- Bring some baked goods to your local library or firehouse
- Spend some time walking dogs at your local shelter
- Clean out your closet and donate gently worn clothing or shoes to Goodwill or the Salvation Army
- Drive a home-cooked meal over to a senior or assisted living home
- Donate blood. I highly recommend setting a calendar reminder for yourself to do this every 8 weeks!
- Volunteer! There are myriad ways to give your time, find what best suits your skill set and available time. You could volunteer to…
- bring the post-service refreshments at your church
- lead a reading circle at a local school
- make fliers or assist with social media marketing for a local nonprofit
- clean trash from around your neighborhood
Do you use the end of the year as a way to up your donation contributions? Any special ways you donate time, goods, or services in non-monetary ways?? Let us know in the comments!