WASHINGTON — The holiday shopping season is officially underway, and in all the stress that can come with that, it is good to step back and remember that it is really supposed to be a season of giving. Giving Tuesday is the perfect day to keep that top of mind.
How can you make the most of this Giving Tuesday?
WHAT WE FOUND:
We’re coming off of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday: all days centered around the consumer aspects of this time of year. Giving Tuesday is a reminder of all of the charities and nonprofits who could use some love, too. The effort started ten years ago and is credited with boosting millions of dollars in charitable donations for nonprofits around the country.
But 2022 has already been expensive, so how can you make the most of this giving Tuesday?
Know where your donation is going
Nonprofits should be able to provide a unique, IRS-assigned “E-I-N”--employee identification number–to prove the organization is legit.
“You want to make sure that you're supporting a 501c3 organization, that's a public charity,” said Kevin Scally, Chief relationship officer with Charity Navigator.
Nonprofit watchdogs like Charity Navigator or the Better Business Bureau’s Give.org can provide insight into a charity’s operations and how much of your donation will actually go toward the cause.
Be mindful of HOW you are donating
The Better Business Bureau stresses the importance of doing your research.
Credit card transactions usually cost up to a few dollars–you may be asked to cover that fee along with your donation.
According to their own websites, online giving portals like Go Fund Me and Facebook will take a percentage of some donations for operating costs, though Facebook says it covers the costs of donating to charities.
Put those dollars to work!
GivingTuesday.org says matching donation programs are great incentives to donate this holiday – via other donor pledges or with company match policies.
If you’re establishing a recurring donation, Scally recommends reading the fine print.
Keep an eye out for scammers.
“Be really careful about donating over the phone, I would totally recommend against it,” said Scally.
The Federal Trade Commission says, to be wary of any links sent to you in texts or emails; consider going straight to their site to actually donate.
The same applies to links your friends share on social media: the FTC warns, scammers will often create websites that sound and look like the real thing, which can fool even the most thoughtful giver.
“This time of year brings out the best in people, but it can also bring out the worst in people where people do try to take advantage of other people's kindness.
Of course, money isn’t the only way to give: Charity Navigator reminds us how important donations of items or our time volunteering, or even just spreading the word about causes that are important to us, can be to a nonprofit.