When hurricanes strike, earthquakes level cities, or economic downturns impact those most in need, many Americans respond quickly and donate their time and money. You can donate in numerous ways; financial donations, nonperishable food, medical supplies, and other materials. A 2016 report from Giving USA found that 2015 was the most charitable year in American history, with Americans donating $373.25 billion to charities that year alone to break the record for a second consecutive year. The truth is, you can give charitable donations in many different forms to various organizations and none of these ways are the wrong way, but the question begs: what is the best way for you?
Who Should Receive My Money?
Regardless of the charity you choose to donate your money or goods to, it is still helpful no matter how much or little you donate; it is all done in good faith. How and where you give money can be more impactful than the dollar figure or hours donated. There is a big misconception among those donating money, that the amount can have the greatest impact. If you want to make a big difference, focus on the changes you want to make and what you think would be most effective.
Each person has their own ideas, morals, and dreams of an ideal world. Perhaps you have a history of losing your home and belongings to a fire or flood. Then your money, regardless of the amount, is best directed to charities that help others affected by natural disasters: floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes. Contributing to a cause that holds a special place in your heart, will always be meaningful. Ask yourself where you believe the best bang for your buck lies, and find organizations to support, that line-up with your beliefs.
How Much Should I Donate?
As just mentioned above, the amount of money you give is not always as important as where that money goes. Give a contribution to a cause that you feel most comfortable and dedicated to. When it comes to the millionaires and billionaires of the world, the resources exist to tackle tremendous problems such as clean drinking water in Africa or vaccines for children in developing countries. These are major, capital-intensive issues.
For you as an individual contributor, it is sometimes hard to think that your “small” contribution could make a difference but that could not be further from the truth. For example, it costs just $150 to provide in-home healthcare for poor families in rural areas of India. Just $7 can help one newborn make it past their early days and weeks of life. If you want to give, do your research on charities that donate most, if not all, the money to a cause that you are supporting. Sometimes companies will only donate a small percentage and you want to make sure your money is making the most impact.
Should I Donate to My Local Community?
Giving to local charities is one of the best ways to see your donations unfold and make a difference because it is right in your community. The key to local charitable donations is to do your due diligence and use online research sites. Consumer Reports often compiles a list of the best charities for you to make donations to, and often looks beyond name-brand recognition to the dispersal of funds and effective work of that organization when making recommendations.
As with any other charitable donation, make sure to find a group whose goal aligns with your values and ideals. Maybe it enhances the quality of arts and culture in your town or maybe it helps the needy and poor. If so, you can go see a show and see how many people are attending. You could also donate food to a local pantry or work in a food kitchen for a day.
Finally, you could just choose to volunteer your time where you feel it matters most. Volunteer to play with the animals and walk dogs at a local shelter or give your time to a local nonprofit, packing up relief supplies. There are countless ways to donate that make a big impact beyond the dollar amount that would still mean the world to people and animals! With more help on income/wealth planning, call us at Manhattan Ridge. We know you want to help and we want you to be able to do so the right way.
The charitable entities and/or fundraising opportunities described herein are not endorsed by or affiliated with First Allied Securities, Inc. or its affiliates. Our philanthropic interests are personal to us and are not reviewed, sponsored or approved by First Allied.