As if we need more things on which to spend our money during the six week period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, research by The Center On Philanthropy indicates the average person makes 24% of their annual donations during that time.
Those that give would love to be able to give more; and many who would love to give don't have the means. Here are a few things to consider:
Parse It Out
Just like those other annual expenses that crop up, most of which are unexpected because your payments don't come often enough, you might want to consider setting up a bucket for charity and contribute to it during the year; that way when the holiday season rolls around, you have the money in the account, not unlike saving for auto insurance.
Speaking of auto, you might want to think about making payments to your favorite charity deducted automatically from your checking account each month. Research indicates that by contributing in this fashion your total contributions for the year will be much higher than your average one-time contribution at the end of the year.
Yes, you knew Facebook and Twitter would be involved. Blast out to your friends about your favorite charity through Facebook and Twitter; include the link to the organization's donation form. Most people will click through when you provide them with the link and make it easy for them.
Giving In More Ways Than One
Many retailers give you the opportunity to make a donation when you buy their products. For instance, if you buy a Subaru during the holiday season, Subaru will contribute $250 to one of five charities.
Another great opportunity is through Net Impact; with over 280 chapters, it's easy to find one locally. For instance, the chapter in the Dallas / Ft. Worth area has many merchants that donate when you purchase from them; my favorite is Tom's Shoes: for every pair you buy, one pair is given to a child in need. Not only are you buying a gift for someone (or merchandise for yourself,) but you're giving at the same time. Two for one; how cool is that?
The web site also provides locators to charities when you have a cause, or you have a friend with a cause, but you don't know the specific organization to which to donate.
The Gift Of Time
Time is our most precious asset. Giving of time means so much to so many folks. Consider tutoring a student during this time. What about running errands for someone who is housebound? Or simply helping an incapacitated person around the house, whether it be cleaning (something I don't even do for myself,) fixing them a warm meal or simply keeping them company. It will mean a lot to them, and what you take away shall be priceless.
What are some of your favorite areas in which to give for the season?