By: Becka Ross, Director of Development and Communications, Teen Success, Inc.
Donating should be a fun and meaningful way to make a difference in the world, but how do you know if it's worth it and if you're making an impact?
These 3 easy steps will help you create your own Annual Charitable Giving Plan. Use it to guide you this holiday season and for years to come. (Want to know how to donate for free? Look for a bonus step at the bottom of this post!)
1) Follow your passions to get excited about donating
Make a list of causes that you are passionate about to guide your giving (such women’s empowerment, children’s education, immigration issues, animal welfare, etc.).
Decide on making a difference within your community or on a larger scale at the state, national, or global levels (or both!)
Research non-profits that align with your passion areas. Your friends and family are a great resource to learn about what organizations they invest in. You can also look up nonprofits on Guidestar or search for the causes you are about and desired giving location (such as “teen mothers bay area”). There are a lot of great organizations out there (including ours) making a deep impact that need your help!
Narrow your list to the top 2-3 non-profits that align with your giving values.
2) Decide when to give
Many people choose to give during specific dates or time periods (e.g. December, birthdays – Facebook Fundraisers are a great way to get friends and family involved –, holidays, and other times that are meaningful to you).
I personally like to give to women’s related causes on International Women’s Day (March 8th), non-profits my friends care about on #GivingTuesday (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving), and to the rest of my favorite non-profits during December.
Monthly donations are also growing in popularity, especially with people who are new to giving. Scheduling monthly donations can help you budget for a larger overall gift and helps nonprofits continue their work year round.
3) Make your donation.
Decide on a donation amount that is right for you. Every gift counts. Decide on an amount for overall giving and divide it between each of your non-profits you chose to support.
You can also donate in ways that aren’t just cash/credit card. 2018’s new tax laws doubled the standard deductions, now it’s $12,000 for individuals/married people filing separately and $24,000 for married people filing jointly . To make sure your donations can still help you get tax deductions, consider these other ways of donating:
BONUS: Look for free (yes, free!) ways to double or triple your impact
Your employer may match all or part of your gifts for free, allowing you to double the amount your favorite non-profits receive. You can use our tool to check if your employer does gift-matching click here.
Double up when your charities of choice are running challenge grants (challenge grants are when a large donor matches all new or increased donations made during a specific time period). Get in touch with those charities to see if they have any matching challenge grants coming up and plan to give during that time.
That's it, happy giving!
Have friends who are interested in philanthropy like you? Share this post with them! What are your strategies to support the causes you care about?
Empowering teen mothers, transforming lives
The mission of Teen Success, Inc. is to help underserved teen mothers and their children become educated, self-sufficient, valued members of society.
Teen Success, Inc.
Sobrato Center for Nonprofits
508 Valley Way
Milpitas, CA 95035