With Thanksgiving just around the corner and Giving Tuesday close behind, it’s easy to be reminded of what we’re thankful for, and to want to pay it forward.
But you don’t have to wait until the end of the year to be more charitable. There are ways to support the charities you love throughout the year so that giving becomes habitual and a regular part of your budget. Here are some quick and easy ways to be more charitable year-round.
SET UP A RECURRING DONATION
If you have causes that you want to support on a regular basis, setting up an automated monthly gift can be a good way to spread out your total desired donation over 12 months (which makes giving a little easier on your budget).
So check and see if your favorite nonprofits accept automated monthly gifts. You may be able to set up a recurring donation via bank transfer, credit card, or other payment system like PayPal or Apple Pay. Just make sure that you’re budgeting for the charitable giving; that way, you won’t accidentally go into debt or overdraw from your bank account.
Quick tip: Don’t assume your donation will be tax-deductible. It’s only eligible for a deduction if the organization you’re giving to is a 501(c)(3) or other type of tax-exempt organization, as defined by the IRS. You can check its status by using the IRS’ Tax Exempt Organization Search site.
Your workplace may allow you to send money to a nonprofit of your choice — and may match all or a portion of your donation.
PARTICIPATE IN WORKPLACE GIVING
Check with your human resources department to see if they have a formal workplace giving policy that will let you donate money via post-tax payroll deduction. This means you’re giving to a charity before your paycheck hits your bank account, so you’re less likely to miss that money. Your workplace may allow you to send the money to a nonprofit of your choice or provide a list of organizations to choose from. Even better? They may match all or a portion of your donation.
DONATE WHILE YOU SHOP
If you’re going to do holiday shopping online anyway, why not send money to your favorite nonprofit while you’re at it? Shopping sites like Amazon Smile, iGive.com, Goodshop and Giving Assistant let you donate a portion of your shopping dollars to participating charities. You won’t necessarily get a tax deduction giving this way (check each site’s fine print for details), but it’s an easy way to give without any extra steps.
TAKE IN THE LOCAL ARTS SCENE
If you're an arts lover, consider getting a donation-based membership at the museums, theaters or other nonprofit arts organizations in your area. Not only are you supporting the arts in your neighborhood, you’re also likely to get perks like discounted tickets or early access to shows during the year in exchange for your donation.