The season of giving begins and many people will turn their thoughts and attention to giving back and making a difference. This time of year, people are inundated with requests from every random charity. Mail piles up with “Gift” catalogues and desperate pleas for funds. The email inbox backs up with desperate subject lines. We’re bombarded with direct appeals in front of stores and cash registers.
If you’re the sort of person who wants their donation to make a difference, then you may struggle with questions like this…
How do I know which charities are good or bad?
Will my donation here matter?
What happens to my donation after I make it?
How do I make good donations during the holidays when there are so many demands on my time and money?
Donating through a giving circle is the best way to give to charity during the holiday season and every other time of the year. And there are 10 reasons why.
- You Make A Bigger Impact on the Charity
We pool our small donation with the donations of lots of other people. As a result, our donation will be much larger than what we could do or wanted to do alone. A larger donation means that the charity has more money to do their important work.
- You Make a Bigger Impact on the Problem
We incorporate education into our giving circle activities, so that our donation committee can research organizations and the programs they’re implementing for efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability. We work hard for our money and we want our money to work hard, too!
- You Choose a Better Charity
Not all charities are created equal. Some are doing amazing work, maximizing every dollar spent, and making a huge impact on the problem. Others struggle with organizational efficiency, have high operating costs, paying large salaries for fund raisers and CEO’s, and, in a few circumstances, committing fraud and embezzlement.
- You Save Time
You can give as much or as little time to this as you want. You might decide to be on the donation committee or not. You’re just one person with a busy schedule, but when lots of people come together to support the same cause, you leverage the time of all our members. You can always feel great about how you donate while you focus on your work, your family, and your friends.
- You Have Permission to Say No to Other Donation Requests
How many requests do you get for a donation? I’d say I have 3 emails every day, one or 2 that arrive in snail mail every week, one or two Facebook friends running a marathon a month, and mountains of requests during the holidays. But I know that I donate through my giving circle, because I can be confident that my donation is making the biggest impact possible on the causes that I care about, so I can politely decline. What a relief!
- You Get Peace of Mind that You’re Giving Back
Before I joined a giving circle, I would really want to donate money. But I was busy, and I never could find the time to make the donations that I wanted. I would always have a little voice in the back of my head reminding me of my guilt and that I needed to give back more! But now, I know exactly how and how much I’m giving. I feel good about it, and that little voice in my head has nothing to say!
- You Won’t Have To Worry About the End of Year Donation Rush
December is the largest month for donations, that means charities send out massive amounts of requests for donations. If you’re like me, I would know that I needed to donate this year, so I would flip through the catalogs, read the requests, and make the difficult choices about where and how much I could donate. It’s kind of like putting my expenses together for my tax returns. Sure, I could do a little every month, and then it’s nice and easy. But instead I sit down in March and spend hours going through my paperwork.
A giving circle can be your annual charitable donation plan. You know how much you’ll be donating. You’ll know that the charities will be well chosen. And if you want to give more at the end of the year, then you can choose to browse those catalogs or to send more to a charity we’ve chosen in the past. An end of year charitable donation is your choice to pursue or not at your pleasure!
- You Enjoy Donating More
I speak with people all across the country about their giving circles and they all tell me the same thing: a giving circle is a profoundly rewarding way to donate money. It’s more fun, because you’re sharing the experience with other people like you who care about the same cause that you care about. The relationships and friendships created in a giving circle are a big reason why many people across the country continue to participate in giving circles year after year.
- You Donate More (But It Feels Like Less)
When I waited until the end of the year to choose where to donate, invariably I had less to donate than I would have liked. The end of the year happens right after Christmas after all! So, I would look at my budget and squeeze in what I felt I could do and maybe a little more, because I felt I should. With a giving circle, charitable giving is part of my monthly budget just like my other monthly expenses. Setting it up to be a little at a time means that overall, I’ll give more money than I would have done at the end of the year, but it feels like less!
- You Discover New Charities
There are over 1 million charities in the US. How many can you think of right now? 10? 20? Maybe 50? It’s easy to get in a rut and only see the same few charities, but there are lots of great charities doing great work, and you’ll discover ones across the country that you would otherwise never hear about. It’s fun and exciting to learn about these charities!
Bonus Reason! You’ve planned for emergency donations.
We know there’s never a good time to make a donation to help with a flood, earthquake, or tornado. so, we set aside a small portion of our donations into an Emergency Relief Fund. When a natural or man-made disaster occurs, any member can request those funds to help relieve the immediate suffering of people impacted by that disaster. Now, you don’t have to watch a disaster on T.V. and wish you could help. You can actually do something about it!
What’s Your Favorite Cause?
So, what’s your favorite cause? Do you love pets? Want to end poverty? Support our veterans?
Join a virtual giving circle for the cause you care about and make small donations that make a BIG difference. And mark donating off your list of things to do this holiday season: https://changegangs.com/find-a-circle/