Here come the holidays: ‘tis the season for giving. It’s satisfying to open our wallets with generosity and help others in need, but how do we make good choices for a meaningful donation? Here’s a guide to making your charitable dollars count this giving season.
Embrace the benefits of giving
There are some tangible benefits to giving, even if a kind heart is your main motivation. It truly pays to give to charity.
Giving is rewarding
Making a donation by credit card can be the gift that keeps on giving. For every dollar you give, you can earn cash or points to spend on yourself and your loved ones. Some people even donate their rewards back to the charity of their choice. Credit card rewards double the gift.
Giving is a tax benefit
If the charity fits a traditional 501(c)(3) status, donations are tax-deductible and therefore decrease your taxable income. The end of the year is a good time to give and still qualify to receive tax benefits for the entire year. Itemizing your charitable contributions is easier if you use a credit card to make them and can serve as a tax record for Uncle Sam.
Giving is good for you
Giving impacts the receiver, but did you know it’s also good for the giver? It’s satisfying to connect your cash to a meaningful cause. A 2016 Cleveland Clinic article says helping others can boost physical and mental health. Givers experience lower blood pressure and stress levels, less depression, and increased self-esteem and happiness.
Be selective when choosing a charity
It’s difficult to decide where to give with so many worthy causes knocking on your door and sending pleas to your inbox. From pictures of wide-eyed children to puppy paws, the appeals are persuasive. So, how do you choose?
Follow your heart
Make a list of causes you care about the most. Consider your personal goals and find an organization that aligns with them. Are you concerned about the environment? Education? Health? Animals? Human rights? There’s an organization (or two) for every cause under the sun. Give where your gift will be appreciated and used effectively to make a difference for what matters most to you.
Follow the money
No one wants to see their money go to waste. Before you give, find out how your dollars will make an impact. Do the research—check the company’s website, see what the press is saying about them, and seek out what percentage of your donation will go directly to their actual mission, rather than to operations and administrative expenses. Lean toward nonprofits that are transparent about their finances and professional in their appeals. For charity ratings based on statistics, look up nonprofit organizations at CharityNavigator.org, an online resource where you are encouraged to “give smarter.” If an organization raises a red flag of suspicion, then mark it off your list. Give where you feel confident.
Like you, First Financial Bank believes in the power of giving. Committed to supporting programs and organizations that enhance and develop the communities where we do business, First Financial focuses on low-income neighborhood development, workforce development, and education, as well as culture and the arts.
First Financial Bank is not affiliated with any third parties mentioned above. Any reference to any person, organization, activity, product, and/or services does not constitute or imply an endorsement. By clicking on a third party link you acknowledge you are leaving www.bankatfirst.com.