by David Aft
The holiday season is upon us, and while many of us are frantically searching for gifts to give our loved ones (or writing up wish lists of our own), it’s important to remember those among us who are less fortunate. Many individuals living in Northwest Georgia rely on churches and charitable organizations to survive from time to time. Some may need food assistance during the holidays, others may need housing, and others may need help with a utility bill to keep warm during the frigid winter months.
In one of my previous blogs, I made some general recommendations pertaining to how to give—the best way to optimize your charitable contributions and get the most bang for your bucks. Here are a few notes from that blog to consider as we journey forward into the Season of Giving.
– Give larger donations to fewer organizations. It’s great to give $100 to ten organizations, but it may be smarter from a “charitable value” perspective to give $500 to two worthy organizations or one significant $1,000 contribution. Larger, well-thought-out donations will probably do more good than several smaller gifts. This makes for harder decisions on your part, but it is a reality.
– Consider making periodic payments (monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly). Based on my experience managing and assisting nonprofit organizations, I know that a steady flow of donations during the year helps the monthly cash flow and adds to the long-term sustainability and success of organizations. And face it—it’s easier on your pocketbook to make twelve monthly $100 donations to a charity than it is to write one big $1,200 check at the end of the year. In today’s world of easy online banking, it only takes a minute to setup a regular payment schedule directed to your favorite charitable groups. Set up your automatic payments in January, and be done with it.
– Use your employer’s payroll deduction program. Payroll deduction is another easy way to give. Money is automatically deducted from your check by your employer, pooled together, and sent to the organization(s) you’ve selected. Again, recurring payroll deductions allow you to spread out your charitable gifts over the course of a year, which makes your donation more manageable and helps keep a steady stream of cash going to the nonprofit of your choice. And did you know that hundreds of companies across the country match their employees’ contributions to qualified charities? Some match donations dollar for dollar, so a $500 gift becomes a $1,000 gift. Ask your human resources representative if your company offers charitable gift matching, and if so, find out what rules apply.
I consider my willingness and ability to “give back” an honor, a privilege, and a blessing, but it doesn’t stop with the generosity in my heart. Just like others, I seek value in my charitable giving decisions. As 2018 draws to a close, I encourage all prospective donors to consider making a few charitable donations before the end of the year and lifting up an individual or family in need.
David Aft is the president of the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia. He has worked in the nonprofit field for over twenty-five years and is a recognized resource and noted speaker on charitable enterprise, civics, fundraising strategy and community development.