The season of giving is upon us. Charities of all sorts, from far and wide, are reaching out to kindly ask for your generous donation to their cause. It may feel like an attempt to take advantage of one’s seasonal generosity, and in some cases, it is.

Considering the fact that 501(c)(3) organizations are tax deductible, the increase in requests is largely for tax purposes. While this may seem like a poor reason to donate, there are still great causes to support around this time of year despite the influx of asking.

Many people choose to donate to a certain charity because of their personal goals or interests. For example, the mother of a child with autism may donate her money or efforts to the Autism Research Institute. A man whose brother has cancer may donate to the American Cancer Society. Though these may seem like obvious decisions, aligning your passions with your philanthropic aspirations is not always easy.

Many people are not as proactive as they’d like to be when it comes to donating. It often takes us some encouragement to give that first portion of money or to make time for a charitable event. We tend to be more reactive in terms of donating. For example, a family member asking for a donation or assistance in setting up a bake sale is much more likely to receive your money than a letter in the mail from an organization you are not familiar with. In order to reap the benefits of giving however, it’s best to put some thought and effort into your charitable giving.

Take a look at your local community. Are there any glaring issues that a local charity is attempting to fix? Could your time or money benefit their efforts? Consider exactly how much is enough to make an impact as well. While some individuals may be able to afford larger donations than others, at somewhat sizeable contribution will help in some way. Also, see this as a change rather than a number.

Many people may think of the monetary value they donated rather than what it is that money is going toward. Instead of thinking “I donated $200,” restructure your thought process to think of the bigger picture: “I bought books for a classroom of students in need.” With that said, take ownership of what you donated. It is a mutually beneficial practice that many take for granted.

 
Donating is about helping others in a way that you can connect with. Whether you are giving to children, the elderly, animals, or the homeless, know that you are making a difference where it matters most to you. Think of what you have during this time of year, and the family you are able to spend it with. This may be seen as a luxury to others.