Tips for the Everyday (micro)-Philanthropist
I have received many questions from people asking for tips on how to start their own everyday giving mission. I am extremely flattered by all the support and before I leave for Mexico, I wanted to share some tips for those who might want to make the Give Everyday philosophy a part of their New Year’s resolution. It can be daunting at times, but can be very rewarding and educational.
- Start locally. Take a look around your community and see what groups and organizations are working within your community to promote postive change. Find a handful of organizations that you would like to support and keep them on your short list.
- Start small. There is no need to break the bank or go broke for your giving mission. There is no such thing as a donation too small. If you are afraid that it won’t make an impact, take it from me, it will. Here is a suggestion that I will be utilizing for YEAR TWO: pick one organization and save up each daily donation in a jar and donate the contents to your charity of choice at the end of the month.
- Jar 2 Jar. Some parents might be interested in teaching charity and saving at the same time, so I recommend JAR 2 JAR. Take 2 jars or containers and label one Savings and the other Charity. Each day drop a quarter, $1, etc. in each jar. Then, deposit the savings and donate the charity portion at the end of the month or end of the year. It’s a great way to get the kids involved. My uncle Luis bought his first car from a 5 gallon water bottle of change he collected, it adds up.
- Vetting. It is important to be informed in your giving, it can be discouraging to find out a charity is not legit after your donation. The best solution is to do your research. Check out websites like CharityNavigator.Org, Charitywatch.org, Guidestar.org, and other watchdog sites. The more information you have, the more confident you can be about your donation. My other suggestion for vetting is volunteering. Volunteer a hour or two at the organization you want to contribute to and see what they are doing with the funds raised first hand. Give Smart, Give Confidently.
- Money isn’t Everything. While giving cash is a great way to help your favorite organization, donating goods or volunteering your time are excellent and recommended ways to help as well. So, on those days when $1 might be to much for your budget to give, consider donating some old clothes/toys/etc, or volunteering a hour or performing a random act of kindness. Instead of looking away from the homeless man asking you for change, smile and say “Good luck. I hope you have a good day.”
- The Great Opt-Out. After your donation, contact the organization and ask them to please remove you from their postal mailing campaigns. Politely let them know that you support their work, but would prefer they save the money spent on direct mail campaigns and be more green by sending email only.
- Get Social. If you want to get your friends and family involved, consider starting up a fundraising project using a social giving site like Crowdrise, Razoo, First Giving, StayClassy among others! This is a great way to stimulate conversation and expand your impact.
- Give Anything, but Up. Even if you have to take some time off, don’t give up. The best thing about giving is that you can pick it back up at anytime. Stay positive and what you might think is too small, can cause a ripple and eventually create a large wave.
If you have any other questions or suggestions, please drop me a line. Also, if you start your own Give Everyday mission, please let me know, so I can follow you!
I wish everyone all the best in the new year. Happy Holidays!