This year has been full of economic challenges including rising inflation, fears of a possible recession and global instability. Many American families are struggling and are turning to food banks and other nonprofits for assistance in record numbers. To keep up with the rising demand, charities are relying on private philanthropists during this year’s season of giving to be generous with time and treasure.
Despite the challenges, Giving Tuesday, the nonprofit that encourages people to donate charitably during the week after Thanksgiving, raised a record-breaking $3.1 billion last week. Giving this year was 15% higher than in 2021, and more than 25% higher than in 2020. With a strong start to end-of-year giving, many are hopeful we will see a continuation of generous giving to close out 2022.
For donors who are considering how and where to give, Philanthropy Roundtable has compiled the following tips to make your charitable giving both effective and meaningful.
Tip #1: Be deliberate and strategic.
Consider ways to strategically invest your giving to align with your values and overall objectives by asking these questions:
- What are you ultimately seeking to accomplish through your giving?
- Are you looking to make a multi-year gift or is this a one-time investment?
- Are you looking to invest in your local community or more broadly?
As you consider these questions, you might think about whether recent events locally, nationally or around the world have made an impact on you this year. Crises such as Hurricane Ian in Florida have affected residents in that state while the war in Ukraine rages on, causing continued suffering and devastation. Think carefully about what you hope to accomplish, as well as where, when and how much you will give. Consider the issues or communities that are of greatest interest to you and your family, and which types and levels of support will help you reach your giving goals.
Tip #2: Give to causes that align with your values.
Are you looking to support certain categories of giving, such as education, workforce development and poverty alleviation? Philanthropy Roundtable recently launched a Values-Based Giving campaign called “Our Values Improve Lives” to highlight the partnerships between philanthropists and charitable organizations advancing efforts in these areas by placing our values of liberty, opportunity and personal responsibility at the center of their work.
If you’re looking for ideas, the Roundtable’s Opportunity Playbook is a digital resource of high-impact nonprofits that are empowering individuals to achieve economic independence, security and mobility, and reach their full potential.
Tip #3: Connect with your community for inspiration.
Talk with trusted sources, including family members, friends, coworkers, faith leaders and financial advisors about who they are supporting with their time and money. This may help you discover organizations or causes that align with your values and long-term goals.
Philanthropy Roundtable helps connect a growing community of collaborative donors who share and strategize on giving strategies. The Roundtable’s interview series “Doers to Donors,” highlights innovators and self-made entrepreneurs – including members of our community like Bernie Marcus, Jeff Sandefer and Maureen and Kelly Hackett – who are improving lives through meaningful charitable giving focused on a variety of causes … and who might inspire you in your giving. These are some areas where these donors are focused:
Maureen and Kelly Hackett of the Hackett Family Foundation are committed to a variety of charitable causes, including mental health. Several years ago, the family established the Hackett Center for Mental Health in Houston, focusing on helping children and families deal with trauma in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. More recently, the center has tackled the mental health challenges affecting children amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jeff Sandefer, founder of Sandefer Capital Partners, has a deep involvement in helping children realize their aspirations. Sandefer is co-founder of Acton Academy, a global network of innovative K-12 schools that encourage students to be “curious, independent, lifelong learners.” He also co-founded the Acton Children’s Business Fair, a collection of one-day fairs in 331 cities that promote businesses created and launched by children. His latest venture is the Next Great Adventure, a program to engage budding entrepreneurs in a series of challenges that help them find their calling.
Bernie Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot, devotes part of his philanthropy to The SHARE Military Initiative at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia, a comprehensive rehabilitation program focused on veterans with traumatic brain injuries and mental health concerns. In partnership with the University of Colorado, he also launched the Marcus Institute for Brain Health, an “intensive, outpatient program [that] combines the best tools in traditional rehabilitation with complementary medicines.” Through these initiatives, he intends to help as many as 20,000 veterans per year, tackling issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries and veteran suicide.
Tip #4: Do your due diligence.
As you consider the many great charities you could support, you may be unsure how to properly research and vet an organization. Below are some recommendations to help you do this thoroughly and save time.
Philanthropy Roundtable’s Philanthropic Programs and Services Team are trusted advisors to the growing movement of philanthropists who place the values of liberty, opportunity and personal responsibility at the center of charitable giving. They support donors in all aspects of their philanthropy, providing the resources, tools and strategic advising to ensure excellence in giving and protect a donor’s legacy.
Do your homework to understand how effective charities are in fulfilling their missions and driving toward impact. For example, reviewing an organization’s form 990s, exploring their website and looking at their Charity Navigator rating are all best practices to understand the organization’s overall health and well-being.
Tip #5: Consider alternative giving vehicles to maximize your giving.
Evaluate various giving vehicles and venues for your giving. In addition to cash-only gifts, consider giving other assets, such as stocks and real estate, establishing a donor-advised fund and/or donating other in-kind gifts that could provide meaningful value to an organization. By maximizing your giving in multiple ways, you may be able to produce more overall value for the causes you care about most.
Tip #6: Donate your time.
Volunteering is another great way to give back to your community and build meaningful relationships with the people who serve and are served through that charity. Not only will this help you get to know how the charity operates, but it may give you ideas on how to increase your support for that organization. Despite economic challenges, the American people are continuing to give generously and improve lives. As Americans consider how to participate in this year’s season of giving, we have no doubt private philanthropy will continue to improve lives now and well into the new year.