5 Things to Consider Before You Give to Charity

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Tis the season to give, but when we think about giving do we think about the long term effect not only for those receiving but also us? I am not talking about the toys and clothes that you look forward to giving to the kids in your life this year, what I am talking about is the Charity that you are going to give to.

Many of us give to charity. Adam and I give and we do so with open wallets, hearts and most importantly our MINDS. Not understanding where your hard earned cash is going can be disconcerting to most people and when you are approached by someone (maybe yours truly!) your first reaction maybe a flat out “NO”.

Lucky for you, as your deciding to give this holiday season, you will have the tools to make a decision the smartest way. By utilizing the tools below the issues you care about will get your funds and your money will make a difference.

1. Who do you want to help and why?

– For Adam and I we like helping those who are getting left behind – at-risk teens and youth refugees. When you think about who you want to help, you can start to make a plan of how you will use your precious funds most efficiently. If you want to help the homeless youth populations in your community then giving that extra dollar at the grocery store checkout stand, to homeless animal shelters only thins out the funds you designate to give to the issues you really care about.

2. Make a goal – Set an amount

– It would be great if we could all just endlessly give but doing that is not realistic. Setting the amount you will give yearly will help you say “YES, I will give” and “No, Sorry I can’t give”, at the right times to the right people. A good number to estimate your yearly giving would be 10 – 15% of your total income. Once you know how much you are going to give to the homeless youth of your community, you will find that saying “YES” becomes easier when the time comes. Also, when tax season comes you know exactly how much to write off.

3. Finding a Charity

– Sometimes this can be the hard part. Not all charities are equal. Some are designed strictly be voices to the government, others are more pro-active and hands-on, and some just plain fail at doing their job. The charities that Adam and I give to are those that are hands-on with those who are in need (because that is what we do every day in our non-profit work). Make sure that the money is not going to a lump fund of bureaucratic mess, by asking when the funds are used, and how many people are served by the charity every year. And PLEASE check their non-profit status!

i.e: The work that Adam and I do is 501 (c) (3) – non-profit work. It includes work with at-risk  youth and refugee teens.

Below are our numbers:

           – Presenting a life changing school assembly to 50,000 individuals yearly

           – Taking at-risk teens on humanitarian trips in the spring and summer breaks to Mexico where we build homes        for impoverished.

           – Providing life coaching and mentoring to 75+ students who are at-risk of failing out of school and life,         throughout the school year

4.  Accountability – Checkout and follow their Social Media

– Sometimes we forget who we gave to or we find we don’t even know what they are doing with our money. By following social media you can find out if you will give to a particular charity the following year. Adam and I are constantly updating our Facebook page and website because we feel it is our duty to provide some sort of accountability to our financial supports as well to our followers. We also provide old fashion quarterly newsletters giving more in-depth updates to our financial supporters.

5. Setting a Giving Schedule

– Some people like to give their full yearly donation all at once and others like to give a monthly donation. We have people who give to us by both of these methods, and let me tell you both are great ways to give. I personally like to set-up monthly financial gifts that are deducted directly from my bank to the charities I donate to. This also helps you to give that full 10 – 15% that you designated for your cause. Don’t let your funds get lost and feel guilty when you look back at the year.

One last thing to consider, is “Can I participate in the charity.” Now not everyone is up to this kind of thing because maybe you like funding an animal shelter but wouldn’t like picking up dog messes. But if you are interested in a more hands-on approach ask how you can give money and time. This also lets you find out if the charity you are giving to truly is as awesome as it seems. Adam and I have people volunteer with us and the organization we work with all the time. Sometimes it is for a day, other times it is a week depending on the project.

Ok, now that you know how to properly choose and give to a charity, go and do it! And if you want to make it really easy just give to us by clicking here.

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