Share By Giovanna Fabiano
This time of year, charity solicitations are as pervasive as door-buster sales and pumpkin flavors. Donations are just as plentiful.
While one-third of all online giving for the year occurs between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, 22 percent of contributions happen during the last two days of the year, according to Network for Good’s online giving study. A 2011 report from The Chronicle of Philanthropy found that nearly 70 percent of Americans believe it is important to give to charities during the holidays.
Sure, people may be feeling more altruistic around the holidays, but the year-end rush may also be driven by donors trying to qualify for last-minute tax savings.
Started in 2012, #GivingTuesday is a national day of giving, dedicated to doing good deeds and encouraging others to do the same. Founder Henry Timms, the interim executive director of New York City’s 92nd Street Y, has said the hashtag was included in the name to provide a sense of community and “unite people” around the theme of helping each other.
Businesses looking to qualify for tax deductions this calendar year can make more of an impact if a large group of employees is willing to chip in. So here’s a list of things you can do to participate in #GivingTuesday, or be charitable anytime this month.
Whether they want to be car designers, coach the Philadelphia Eagles or become Batkid and rescue San Francisco from crime, hundreds of thousands of children with life-threatening medical conditions have seen their wishes come true over the past 30 years thanks to Make-A-Wish. With the help of generous donors and more than 25,000 volunteers, a wish is granted every 38 minutes, on average.
If you’re looking to donate to victims of Typhoon Haiyan, the nation’s premier emergency response organization is an obvious choice. Yet in addition to disaster relief, the American Red Cross offers support for military members and their families, blood-giving services and international development programs.
Instead of making a flat monetary donation, Heifer allows you to purchase something tangible, such as a Southeast Asian water buffalo, a $250 gift that can help a family with their farming needs. The organization solicits donations from people in wealthy countries to empower families by giving them items — such as farm animals, stoves and irrigation pumps — to help them become sustainable.
The organization operates 7,546 centers in communities across the United States, selling goods donated through Salvation Army Family Stores and tackling issues ranging from food distribution and disaster relief to human trafficking. This year, the organization is teaming up with NBCUniversal to encourage its Red Kettle donations on #GivingTuesday, and throughout the holiday season.
If you’re looking for a more local option, Charity Navigator rates nonprofits on a scale that includes transparency in spending to what percentage of money raised goes directly to recipients. They also have an extensive database of charities participating in #Giving Tuesday.