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The holiday season is when many Americans think about giving back, and this is also when various charitable organizations and groups reach out to their supporters. Choosing the right charity for your giving can be challenging, as there are over 1.5 million tax-exempt groups in the US. Here are some tips on how to make a meaningful donation.

 

Reflect on Your Life and Values

Alan Ranzer, a co-founder and managing partner of Impact 4 Good, suggests that people reflect on their last year. For instance, if you had a terrific hiking trip, consider supporting an organization that allows young people to get outdoors. If you lost a loved one to illness or injury, supporting a charity that helps raise awareness about the cause could be meaningful.

 

Choose Between Local or International Charities

Today, many people want to give to a charity that can make a difference in their local community. However, it’s also important to consider if you want to impact the world.

 

One of the reasons why many people give to a local charity is that they believe that their donations can make a more significant impact than those provided to international organizations. Supporting groups that don’t have marketing budgets can also be beneficial.

 

Look Into Your Charities

Before you make a financial contribution, make sure that the charity that you plan on supporting will use the money wisely. A variety of organizations monitor the financial health of various organizations, which can be helpful when you are trying to choose a charity. 

 

Some of these include guidestar.org, charity navigator.org, and givewell.org. These sites provide quantitative assessments of an organization’s performance and can help you make an informed decision.

 

These organizations do the necessary research to find out about the operations of the various organizations they support. They can also present their findings in an unbiased manner.

 

You can also check to see which institutions support the charitable efforts of your alma mater, employer, or house of worship. According to experts in charitable giving, it’s helpful to see which groups are closely aligned with your values and are likely to have undergone rigorous vetting.

 

Consider Volunteering

Even if you’re not able to give a financial contribution at the end of this year, there are still ways that you can support a cause. One of these is volunteering, as local charities often don’t have the overhead their larger counterparts have.

 

You might be in demand if you have a wide range of skills, such as graphic design or accounting. Several websites can help find a match for you, such as volunteermatch.org. Another site is catchafire.org, which connects people seeking pro bono work with local organizations.