Think globally, give locally
The holiday shopping season got off to its traditional start with the Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday sales this past week.
While many consumers are looking to their holiday shopping needs this time of year, it is important to remember many local charitable causes and community projects that could use a hand during this season of giving.
Nationally, about 30% of all charitable giving is done during the month of December with about 10% of annual giving occurring in just the last three days of the month. About 69% of all people report making charitable donations over the year, with 64% of all donations made by women. Each person who gives, on average, supports 4.5 charities each year.
National nonprofit and charitable organizations are well aware of these trends and have even more demographic breakdowns of how to appeal to different groups to maximize donations.
While there is no doubt the nationallevel organizations do good work and are worthy of support, those organizations typically have much larger bureaucracies in place meaning that in some cases more money goes to keeping the organization running than going to the actual cause itself.
By comparison, locally-based organizations typically are operated by volunteers or with a minimal amount of staff putting the focus on fulfilling their mission. As a result many of these local organizations may not have the glossy mass mailings or prime time television commercials you see from some national campaigns, but their needs are just as real. Making a donation to a local non-profit or to a community cause also brings the added benefit of being able to see your gift at work in your community.
You see your donation dollars at work whenever your children or grandchildren play in the park, visit a local monument or museum or take part in a program in a local church, school or outdoors event. Local donations help keep families together who are suffering through medical challenges and provide a community safety net for those facing immediate crisis.
Another thing to consider when making a charitable gift is the impact your donation will have. A $50 donation is unlikely to be the difference in helping save the rain forest, but the same $50 donation to a local literacy program can put books in the hands of a dozen children.
There are a wide variety of local charitable causes, from organizations that help make sure people have beds to sleep in to those that support substance abuse recovery programs.
There are also a number of capital campaigns underway for community improvements that will have a lasting impact on the community. For those who can’t decide or who feel their contribution is too small to make a difference, a gift to the Taylor County United Way is always a good option. The local United Way takes the strength of many smaller donations and combines them to make a meaningful impact for nearly two dozen agencies, ranging from the Boy Scouts to childcare programs.
End of year charitable giving is important for nonprofits of all sizes. While it may be easy to send a check off to a well-known national group, think instead about giving to local agencies and civic causes.
Money donated locally is spent locally, building a stronger community for everyone.