Show Notes – Ep 011: Charitable giving tips for Giving Tuesday & beyond!
‘Tis the season for charitable giving and Giving Tuesday is right around the corner, but how can you be sure that your money is going to the right place?
In this episode of the Happy Me Happy Earth podcast I talk about how you can find the best charities to donate to. I answer some of the most common questions that people tend to have about charitable giving and share how you can align your money with your values.
Whether you’re listening to this episode right when it comes out or at any other time during the year, tune in to learn how you can do the most good with your charitable donations.
Below is a brief outline of this week’s episode. Listen here or wherever you get your podcasts. Please subscribe so that you don’t miss an episode!
And before we dive into the show notes I want to share a fun opportunity with you!
Between now and Giving Tuesday (November 29th, 2022) I will be giving $1 to Survival International for every new person that joins my email list.
So if you have friends or colleagues who are also on the mission to make this world a better place please send them this link so that they can download my “Self-care for Changemakers Guide” and get on the list.
When you (or your friends) sign up you’ll also receive a step-by-step email series that will help you identify your North Star aka your personal mission statement that will become your compass for both your charitable giving and other impact work.
Survival International works in partnership with indigenous tribal peoples whose land is threatened by big businesses and governments in order to make sure that their voices are heard and their land rights are protected. Because indigenous people who have been living in harmony with nature for thousands of years are our best hope at protecting threatened rainforests!
Missed the fundraiser? No problem. You can still sign up for the Newsletter and I’ll let you know when I run similar charitable donation activities throughout the year.
Now, on to the show notes!
What is Giving Tuesday?
Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 by the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact which is a culture center at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. They founded this annual event in order to use social media for good by kicking off the charitable giving season and encouraging donors not to wait until the end of the year to make contributions.
According to the Giving Tuesday Data Commons charitable donations in 2021 in the United States alone totaled $2.7 billion. A lot of money is changing hands around this time, and the nonprofit sector is complicated. I want to be sure that you have the information that you need to make the most of your giving whether that be now or later.
How do I pick a charity for my charitable giving?
Your North Star is your personal mission statement and the change that you want to see in the world.
For example, my North Star is, “I want to live in a world where every human has the opportunity to thrive while living in sustainable harmony with nature.”
You can use your North Star as a compass for your charitable giving. When considering a charity ask yourself, “Is the work of this organization moving the world toward my North Star?”
How do I know if a charity is actually effective?
You can assess the effectiveness of a nonprofit organization by looking for specific outcomes related to its spending. Do they have concrete goals and concrete outcomes?
You should be able to easily find this information in the charity’s Annual Report under the Outcomes section. But if an organization doesn’t have any data to back up their claims of making a difference or if they don’t publish an Annual Report then this might be a red flag.
The good news is that there are a few excellent websites that do this research and analysis for you. Check out Charity Watch, Give Well, and Charity Navigator.
Is it better to give one big donation to a single charity or several small donations to a few organizations?
So if you have time to research just one organization that’s completely fine. Just give to that one. And you can use the charity review websites I mentioned earlier to save yourself a lot of time!
Is it better to give locally?
The answer to this question really depends on where you live and on your North Star. It’s best to focus on causes that matter the most to you.
For example, if the cause that you’re passionate about is eradicating poverty then you could donate to an organization that provides resources to people without homes in your community. But we also want to acknowledge that even the poorest people in the US (and other minority world nations) are much better off than millions living in extreme poverty in Bangladesh, parts of Africa, etc.
So in some cases, your charitable giving might be more effective when focused on organizations that work internationally.
How much should I focus on a charity’s overhead costs?
According to Charity Watch, a minimum of 60 percent of a charity’s budget should be spent on direct program services and highly efficient charities spend closer to 75 percent. Looking at these percentages can be helpful, but they can also be deceiving because organizations can get creative with the way they frame their budgeting in order to make the actual amount that they spend on fundraising, for example, appear less than it actually is.
It’s important to note that paying a good salary to retain employees that are passionate about their work, effective leaders, and highly qualified, is incredibly important for any organization including charities.
Oftentimes the people that are doing this crucial work are undervalued and underpaid which leads to a high employee turnover. I personally have friends who have left the nonprofit space because they didn’t feel they could support themselves and their families on such a small salary. So it actually may be a good sign if a charity pays its employees well.
Other charitable giving tips:
- Look for charities that are underfunded. Some charities already have enough money on hand to support their programs for the next decade. Focus your charitable giving on organizations that are underfunded.
- Watch out for frauds. Give directly to the charity instead of through a third party by donating on the organization’s website. Also, keep a look out for charities that have similar-sounding names.
- “Tax Exempt” Does Not Always Mean “Tax Deductible”: If you’re a US citizen and want to deduct your charitable donation on your federal income tax return then make sure that your donation is tax-deductible. This information should be easily accessible on the organization’s website.
Lastly, I found this episode and this episode of the Stuff You Should Know podcast quite helpful!
I hope that this episode of the Happy Me Happy Earth podcast and the other resources mentioned above are helpful for you as you consider charitable giving in the future!
Remember, I’ll be donating $1 to Survival International for every new email subscriber from now through Giving Tuesday on November 29th, 2022.
Please subscribe wherever you get your podcasts!
Feedback? Topic suggestions? Ah-ha moments? I’d love to hear from you!
Please email me at email@example.com
Thanks for listening and/or reading!
Featured image: Photo by micheile dot com on Unsplash
Podcast music: “Bounce” by Coma-Media on Pixbay