JENKINTOWN, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In anticipation of Giving Season, the final weeks of the year when donors make approximately 40% of all annual donations, and #GivingTuesday (Dec 3), the philanthropy experts at National Philanthropic Trust, one of the top grantmaking organizations in the US, share key tips to help empower and encourage all Americans to maximize every charitable donation and avoid scams.
“Charitable giving is a great, important tradition during the holidays and Americans are the most generous in the world,” said Eileen Heisman, CEO of National Philanthropic Trust and #GivingTuesday Ambassador. “Many people spend more time researching a new restaurant online than they do a new charity to donate to. Whether you want to donate $5 or $5,000 this Giving Season, it is important to maximize every donation dollar and avoid scammers. It’s easier than ever to give with the expertise and strategy of a large philanthropist.”
Tips to empower every donor and optimize every donation from Heisman:
- Create a vision. What types of causes are important to you and your family? Do you want to make a difference on a national, local or international level? Listen to your heart when creating a charitable vision; there are only “right” answers to these critical questions. Be empowered to define and realize your personal charitable vision.
- Set a budget. How much you give is a personal decision and every dollar counts for charities. Generally, an annual charitable budget can be anywhere from 1 to 12 percent of income. Create a budget and stick to it. You can’t—and shouldn’t—give reflexively to everyone who asks.
- Review the mission. It has never been easier to confirm that a charity’s mission aligns with your charitable vision. Check your favorite charity’s social media, speak to volunteers or call the staff. Charities want to communicate their impact and goals to donors like you. The more transparent and sustainable, the better.
- Give more to less. Larger gifts to fewer charities creates a bigger impact. Consider donating $100 to one charity rather than $20 to five charities. It costs a lot for a charity to get your attention, so stick with an organization for two or three years. Also, give unrestricted gifts and let the charity determine the best use of your generous donation.
- Do the research. Online, email, text and telephone scammers thrive on your kindness during Giving Season. Scammers create ‘mirror’ social media pages that resemble a legitimate charity’s page. The best, fastest approach is ‘close then click.’ Close out of any portal soliciting your donation and click to open a new tab to donate directly via a charity’s website. You’ll also save on third-party processing fees. The key is for you to initiate the contact. And trust your instincts - if you have any question about a charity, call the charity directly or check if it’s a registered 501c3 at IRS.gov.
Alternatives to financial donations
- Volunteer. Charities run on the energy of volunteers. Many times, it’s possible to make a charitable impact with just three hours a month, at home. It costs a lot in time and resources for a charity to train a volunteer, so be realistic with your 2020 schedule. Avoid volunteering on holidays when charities are overwhelmed with help. New volunteers divert resources on high-volume days.
- Shop. While financial donations are critical to the missions of the 1.5 million US charities, many organizations have ‘wish lists’ on Amazon or their website. Add an item, or ten, while you are shopping for friends and family this season. Wish list items are shipped directly to the charity and they are sure to be used. Avoid donating unsolicited items – it’s expensive to move and store non-necessities.
- Share. Leave positive, detailed reviews on social media and search engines like Google. Help others find and trust the charities you are familiar with. Share the charity’s impact images on your social pages. Your voice holds power for organizations doing good in your community and around the country.
“It costs nothing to support your favorite charities by helping others discover them,” said Heisman. “While you are out celebrating the season, mention in conversation your favorite charities to friends old and new. The influence you have, in-person and online, in your social circle is priceless for a charity.”
Continued Heisman, “Individual charitable giving has never been more important. Don’t wait to be asked. Be proactive about your philanthropy--it’s likely to be the most fulfilling thing you’ll do this season.”
Log on to HistoryofGiving.org, the most comprehensive digital narrative dedicated to the last 500 years of philanthropy to access rarely seen images and video about charitable giving.
About National Philanthropic Trust
Founded in 1996, National Philanthropic Trust is the largest, national, independent donor-advised fund sponsor and has made more than 273,000 grants totaling $6.8 billion to charities around the world. NPT has raised more than $13.5 billion in charitable contributions and currently manages $8.1 billion in charitable assets. NPT ranks among the largest grantmaking organizations in the US. NPT annually publishes the Donor-Advised Fund Report, the industry’s authority on the state of DAF giving. Learn more at NPTrust.org.