PLAN your giving. You’ll
feel better about your giving and
know that it’s had maximum impact
when you take a little time to determine
which organizations you want to support
and when/how much you’ll give.
If you plan, you’ll also feel
better about saying “no”
to a charity because you’ll
know that you’re going to give
in the future. To learn more, read
Five "Ps" of Wise Giving.
2) Interact with and giving
to your charity online. If
you receive a written letter and then
give online, the charity has still
incurred the cost of sending you something.
But if you are proactive and let the
charity know you want to receive communications
online, you’re saving them a
bit of money. And the more donors
who do that, the more money the charity
can spend elsewhere.
3) Look into matching gifts
from your employer. Many
donors don’t realize that their
employee may match their gift. Not
all employers do that, or may only
match a portion of your gift but it
doesn’t hurt to find out and
can easily double your impact. Ask
your human resources manager. Some
employers might offers employees time
off to volunteer as well.
4) Payroll giving/giving a little
bit each month. A $100 gift
might sound like a lot at one time,
but what if you give a little part
of that each month? A measly $10 per
month is a $120 annual gift to your
favorite cause. You might be able
to work with a charity to have that
amount come directly out of each paycheck,
or just set aside a little bit each
5) Give to a community foundation.
A community foundation focuses, as
the name implies, on a certain geographic
area, making contributions and providing
support to charities in the community
that cover a wide range of activities.
Giving to a community foundation is
a great way to pool your resources
with other donors so you can have
a bigger impact in your local community
using the expertise and experience
the foundation has developed over
6) Donor-advised funds.
These charitable vehicles allow you
to give money to a charity (the fund),
receive a deduction and then recommend
to what charitable organizations money
in the fund should be directed. Donor-advised
funds typically require a significant
amount of money, though smaller funds
(a minimum contribution of $10,000)
have now been created.
7) Click-a-day websites. It
doesn’t get much easier than
this. There are websites where you
can go every day, click on a button,
and something good will happen: For
example, at the Hunger
WebSite, for every click you make,
sponsors will provide food to charitable
organizations. Use Google
(or even better, read number 8 below).
8) Use an online search tool
like Goodsearch. Every time
you search online using Goodsearch,
you generate money for your designated
charity. It’s not a lot of money
each time, but the searches can add
Café are other examples.
9) Play games online for charity.
Play trivia games, geography games
and candle games, and whether you
win or lose, charities will be supported.
10) Giving circles. Get
your friends together, discuss common
interests, agree to a certain amount
each person gives to the circle, and
then determine which charities will
receive your pooled gift. Giving circles
are a great way to bring friends together
and dramatically increase the impact
of your philanthropy. For more information,
click to this great
article from the Minnesota Toolkit
11) Donations of clothing
and other goods. Clothing
and other goods, including furniture,
electronics, appliances and linens,
are ALWAYS needed. However, understand
that you typically cannot take a deduction
for clothing or household items you
donate unless the clothing or household
items are in good used condition or
12) Donations of food. An
easy and important way to give.
Contact local shelters and see what
they need. Be sure to take advantage
of discount food sales at supermarkets,
but make sure you’re buying
items that people will enjoy. Think
about making a bit extra or buying
a second turkey or ham for your Thanksgiving
or holiday dinners.
13) Donating your car. Yes,
you can donate your car (and boat)
and receive a charitable deduction
equal to the fair market of the vehicle.
It’s a great way to be charitable,
but there are some things to think
about when you’re considering
donating a vehicle. Charity Navigator
has some great
tips for vehicle donations.
14) Collect that change at the end
of the month. Sure, you could
use it to buy a cheap lunch. But how
about keeping it and contributing
it to charity? A little bit a month
can add up (See number 4 above).
15) Sell items and give the
proceeds to charity. A garage
sale is one way. Selling items online
is another through eBay
Giving Works. You can donate a
portion of your sale to a charity
and immediately contribute through
16) Ask for donations instead
of gifts. Instead of asking
for gifts for your birthday or the
holidays, ask for contributions to
be made to your favorite charity.
17) Buy items from local charities.
Lots of local groups make
items or goods, especially for the
holidays. Buy from these charities
and get things you need while supporting
a good cause.
18) Buy extra items.
An extra package of soap or shampoo,
an extra set of batteries or light
bulbs. Lots of common household items
are needed by charities, especially
social service organizations, all
the time. Find out what your favorite
charities need, then buy items for
them occasionally throughout the year.
19) Regift. Okay, so not
only did you not get the gift you
wanted, but the gift you got wasn’t…quite
right for you. But it’s probably
great for someone else! Consider regifting
those unwanted prizes and donating
them to a charity. Or auction them
off online and give the proceeds to
20) Bequests. Want
to give a lasting legacy to a charity
and your community? Then consider
leaving something to a charity in
your will. Getting your will prepared
is an important thing to do regardless
of your philanthropic interests, but
you’ll find that leaving something
behind to charity can be easily done
with positive tax benefits for your
21) Get your kids involved.
For lots of reason. First,
studies show the earlier kids get
involved with philanthropy, the more
likely they are to continue their
involvement as they grow older. Second,
their enthusiasm can be contagious.
And third, they look at problems and
issues from perspectives that adults
often don’t consider, and often
provide “out of the box”
solutions and innovations that seasoned
professionals haven’t thought
22) Use an affinity credit
card. An increasing number
of nonprofits have partnerships with
banks that produce affinity credit
cards. Every time you use that credit
card, a small amount is contributed
to the charity—maybe a penny
per dollar. Now that’s not a
lot, but for example if you spend
$10,000 annually on a credit card,
you’ve just given your favorite
charity $100. Check with your favorite
charities to see if they have an affinity
credit card program.
23) Contribute your points.
Maybe you get receive points
from credit card programs, airline
mileage partnerships or hotel deals?
In many cases, you can contribute
those points, or the benefits you’d
receive from them, to a charity. Check
with the appropriate company and program
and see what is transferrable for
a charitable cause.
24) Consider making a charity the
beneficiary of your life insurance
policy. Or you can donate
an existing policy to a charity. Or
contribute money to a charity and
have it buy a life insurance policy.
All are great and easy ways to support
your favorite cause. Contact your
charity for more information.
25) Attend special events.
You want to go out? You want
to run a marathon? Then do so through
a charity’s special event, have
fun and support the cause all at the
same time. Charities are now offering
all sorts of special events, so find
out what’s happening in the
community and participate!
Note: Organizations mentioned in this
section are not in any way endorsed
by AFP but simply examples of certain
types of services and programs.