Giving to charity can seem like a very stressful thing to do. Especially when so many requests come in at once. Toward the end of the year so many charities are racing to meet their yearly goals that it can be a bit overwhelming while choosing what charity you want to donate to. This stress usually keeps people from donating regularly or causes us to not donate at all. Another big factor why we put off donating is our busy lives. It's easy to put off donating or forget about it when you're always so busy trying to keep up with the things in your life. But the fact is that charitable giving can be an easy and enjoyable experience and it always feels good to do. The most important thing though, is that it helps those in need. Here are a few donating tips as well as some good ideas for different ways you can donate to charity:
First off, try planning ahead. Instead of waiting until the end of the year when your finances are already being tested, try setting up an automatic donation plan. Many organizations offer ways to donate to them automatically each month from your checking account. You can set what amount you want to taken out of your account each month, whether it be five dollars a month or one hundred dollars a month. This will save you a lot of time and eliminate any stress you've created from making yourself feel guilty for putting off a donation. Also, check with your companies payroll department. Many companies can easily set up a portion of your paycheck that you specify, to go directly to the charity of your choice.
Know the charity you're donating to. Unfortunately, there are a lot of fake charities out there or real charities that don't use good practice. Make sure you research the charity that you plan on donating to. Search around and find out what kind of reputation they have and if they are legit or not. This can easily be done online or with a few phone calls. Ask them to send you some literature or their latest annual report. Also be sure to ask how much of your donation will be going to the cause you want to support and how much will be going to administration and fundraising expenses. In most cases 60 percent or more should go to the services you're trying to support, where 40 percent or less should be spent on administration and fundrasing costs.
One of the easiest ways to donate to a specific charity, is online. To donate in the past you usually had to find the charities address, hope it's the right address, fill out a check, maybe write them a letter as to why you're donating to them, address an envelope and go buy a stamp. Now, just about all charities will accept donations online from their website or from a service provided by a professional fundraising organization. This can now all be done online in about five minutes. This is also a win win situation because it saves you a great amount of time and allows charities to reach millions of new donors that want a quick and easy way to help them out.
If you want an alternative way to give than with money, consider donating your unused frequent flier miles, your old cell phones, and even putting your favorite cause or charity in your will. There are organizations that provide a way for each one of these mentioned alternatives to see it through to your chosen charity.
Charitable giving is a very personal decision. Many people donate to a certain cause because it's something that has effected them or a loved one. Be sure to take your time when deciding what cause you want to support. Even though you will be helping people in need, it's important that you are happy with the organization you're donating to so that you have a good donating experience. With a good experience, you'll continue to help others by donating in the future.
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