How to determine what (and where) to donate this holiday season
How to determine what (and where) to donate this holiday season
The end-of-year holiday season is a popular time to give back. And with the world slowly getting back on its feet, now more than ever, giving back through donations is a meaningful way to contribute to the greater good. But with so many options of charities, non-profits, campaigns, and causes, it’s hard to know where to donate.
That’s why we want to help you determine what (and where) to donate this holiday season so you can make the most impact with your actions. Below you’ll find excellent options for end of year donations of your time, skills, money, or resources so you can make sure your efforts and assets go to legitimate (and needed) causes.
How To Know Your Donation Is Going To The Right Place
While it’s ultimately up to you to determine where you want to donate your resources, it pays (figuratively and literally) to do your homework on the organizations you want to give to. If you have personal experience with an organization or was recommended by a friend or family, you still want to make sure that they legitimately use your contributions for the greater good.
Maybe you want to donate to high-impact causes that make a positive difference in the world. Or maybe you want to save the pets and wildlife in your community. Perhaps your cause contributes more towards social good rather than environmental initiatives. There is no wrong sector to donate to, but again, let’s make sure your donation is optimized to its fullest potential.
Make informed decisions by using sites like Charity Navigator and Charity Watch who review and investigate major nonprofits and organizations that actually put their donations where their mouth is. Support organizations that are not only transparent about their finances and operations, but stand behind their missions and get things done.
If your cause of choice is a little more obtuse, reach out to someone who knows the ins and outs of that sector so you can make sure you are putting the most power behind your money. For example, if you want to support the fight against breast cancer or heart disease, ask a doctor for reputable charities they trust. If you wish to end local hunger, reach out to your local food bank. Take the extra time so you can make an informed donation.
Now let’s look at what (and where) you can donate!
At Home Donation
If you can’t attend in-person events for whatever reason, consider donating from the comfort of your home. Almost every organization accepts online monetary donations these days --but If you’d rather contribute in a way that doesn’t involve cash, we’ve got you!
Here are some great ways to give back from the comfort of your home.
Take Online Action
Many organizations can use support that doesn’t look like money. If you want to make an impact and support activism for particular causes, you can sign an online petition or email a legislator. Depending on the organization, they will have links with easy-to-follow steps that will take you minutes to make a difference.
Sometimes the most significant impact you can make is voting for policies and politicians that support your social or environmental causes. Research your candidates and look into policy ramifcations before voting commences. And don’t forget to register to vote!
Use Your Talents
Learning Ally is a unique way to volunteer your talents and increase the US literacy rate. Depending on the skill needed at different times, you can help create educational tools for educators, students, and parents that increase the literacy rate of children in the US. If you want more ideas on how you can virtually donate or volunteer, check out Volunteer Match!
Donating money can often be the simplest way to give back, but we can’t stress enough that you need to do your homework when it comes to the organizations you choose to support monetarily. Earth Easy has a great post on 10 Vetted Organizations to donate to if you aren’t sure where to start.
Another great option is to donate money to those impacted by natural disasters. The US alone has seen catastrophic wildfires and devastating hurricanes. The victims of these nationwide disasters can benefit from the organizations and nonprofits who are on the ground providing relief in those areas. Every penny counts. Use the Charity Navigator or Charity Watch site to find an organization that speaks to you.
Pro tip: If you’re stumped for Christmas gift ideas for your loved ones, give the gift of giving! Instead of buying a gift they (probably) don’t need, donate money to local or global environmental change initiatives mentioned above or any animal-related causes in their name. We talk more about reducing our impact during the holiday season in this blog post here.
Making a difference doesn’t always need to involve money or staying within the boundaries of your home! If you want to contribute your talents or labor to a great cause, there are plenty of ways to take action.
Call your local food bank or women’s shelter to see ways in which you can physically help. It could be purchasing non-perishable goods at your next grocery outing, handing out fliers, or cooking and serving meals to those in need.
Firefighters often organize toy drives during the holidays. You can help them out by setting up a toy dropbox within your community circle or a little further afield --your golf club, climbing gym, or book club could spread the word to reach wider circles and increase toy donations in your area.
Animal Shelter Collection
As a sustainable subscription box for dogs, we will always recommend volunteering at your local animal shelter if you can. If they don’t need physical volunteers for whatever reason, collect items for them instead!
Animal shelters and organizations like the SPCA are always looking for rugs, blankets, towels, and other items for bedding. You could call your local shelter and see what they are in need of. It might be dog toys, dog food, or lightly used pet things that your fur baby no longer has need of.
Acts Of Kindness
If you don’t have a local charity to get involved with but still want to donate something in some capacity, consider doing random acts of kindness for others in your neighborhood or community. Shovel your neighbor’s driveway or mow somebody’s lawn. Make contactless deliveries for the elderly or disabled. Pick up trash in your community. Better yet, organize a community trash pick-up day so more people can “donate” their time too!
Hopefully, this post helps you determine what (and where) you’d like to donate your time, talent, or money this holiday season. It’s the perfect time of year to share your blessings and pay it forward. If you enjoy it, consider taking this one step further and making biannual or quarterly donations of your time or money and give the gift that never stops giving.