The holidays are just around the corner, which hallmarks the beginning of the giving season for many families. Not only do we give to our own families, but many people like to include charitable giving as part of their holiday cheer. The easy part, however, is wanting to give. Finding the right strategies to give charitably can be tricky, especially if you don’t have a specific cause in mind.
The Importance of Generosity
Generosity is one of the greatest — and potentially most difficult — character traits to develop over a lifetime. When the world is constantly throwing curveballs at us, including financial stressors like the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be challenging to feel genuinely compassionate and generous in your heart. However, the act of giving tends to restore us, sometimes even more than the gift blesses its recipient. Sharing our means and bringing light into someone’s life builds us up in ways that money never can.
“It is more blessed to give than receive.”–Acts 20:35
However, generosity isn’t just about giving money or material things. It can be giving your time to a cause to which you feel connected, or wisdom to a young person looking to find their way. By becoming a mentor, teacher, or friend to someone who needs it, you give something of greater long-term value than a check.
How to Give Locally
Many of us start locally with our charitable giving, to impact the community in which we live and work. However, choosing just one cause or organization to devote time or a financial gift to can be challenging. Below are some ways in which you can give back to your community with your time, resources, and monetary donations:
- Become a mentor to a youth organization such as a little league team, volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters, or a personal mentor to a struggling adolescent in school.
- Participate in a local charity’s fundraiser such as a 5K, food drive, or another local event. Many charities host these events around the holidays, so keep your eyes open for ways to get involved.
- Give a portion of your Christmas bonus to a local charity that you and your family are passionate about.
- Sign up for a monthly donation for your favorite local charity, such as a women’s shelter, a research foundation, or an animal sanctuary.
While many of us feel personally connected to local charities, some causes touch our hearts in a tremendous way. For example, perhaps you’ve had a family member who has battled and won against cancer, or you lost a loved one to drug addiction and want to help others find recovery.
Maybe you are a firm believer in spreading the Gospel or want to give hope to children in impoverished countries. In this case, donating to an international charity can be more meaningful. How can your resources impact the world through global charities? Some of the most well-known global charities include:
- World Cancer Research Fund International – Worldwide cancer research funding
- Pure Earth – Funding pollution prevention in low-income countries
- International Anti-Poaching Foundation – Ending poaching and habitat destruction worldwide
- Foundation for a Smoke-Free World – Global organization to curb tobacco addiction
- Lifeline Children’s Services – Global adoption program to support orphaned children
Other Generous Giving Strategies
While most people picture charitable giving as writing a check or volunteering at a local shelter, there are other ways to contribute to a cause that can be most meaningful and financially beneficial for everyone involved. For example, under the Alabama Accountability Act, individuals can receive tax credits for private donations to fund scholarships for low-income students. You can donate up to half of your state-taxable income to providing these students with a better education at no additional cost to you.
Suppose you are committed to philanthropy on a large scale. In that case, you may even consider starting your charitable giving foundation to provide scholarships or grants to those in need within your community. This offers a sustainable purpose for your charitable giving and provides your family with a cause they can support for generations to come.
No matter how or why you give this holiday season, talk to your OneAscent advisor on ways to make the most of your generous giving. We can help you find investment opportunities, charitable organizations, and personal means of giving that reflects your desire to bless humanity.