What are you doing on December 1st?

Date November 25, 2020

Most of us know about Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Friday, and of course, Cyber Monday. In 2019, 27 million people participated in a day of giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving called Giving Tuesday. So, what exactly is Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday started in 2012 as a special day to kick off the “open giving season.” It was a simple idea and has become a global movement that encourages us all to make a difference. This year, more than ever, this international day of philanthropy and generosity will help many charities continue to do great things in their communities. In its first year Giving Tuesday generated $10 million in donations. In 2019 that number rose to almost $2 billion, with $1.5 billion coming from online! The statistics from 2019 are fascinating:

  • The average gift size last year was $117
  • 13% of the U.S. population participated in some way
  • 58% of U.S. and Canadian nonprofits participated
  • 63% of Tuesday donors only give on that day

Despite the current economic and political environment donations have continued to flow. Many donors accelerated donations rather than waiting until year-end as they typically do. That group we all talk about, those millennials, 74% of them made donations during the pandemic.

Maybe you are one of the fortunate ones this year and you have some extra to give. Maybe you have a few favorite charities or maybe you’re a novice in making donations. Let your dollars make a difference. Be smart about doing your homework first. Here are a few things to remember:

Is the organization a registered public 501c(3) organization? This is easy to check by going to the IRS website tax-exempt organization search. The IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search Tool provides a lot of information on listed charities such as:

  • Is the organization tax-exempt and eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions?
  • Has the organization had its exempt status revoked?
  • 41 states also require state registration and most have charity directories.

    Remember donations to 501c(3) organizations are still tax deductible if you itemize and up to $300 of cash donations can be deducted even if you don’t itemize for 2020. Contact your tax advisor to help plan your charitable giving if you are seeking a deduction for 2020.

    Get to know one or more of the big watchdog groups. Groups like Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, BBB Wise Giving Alliance, or Guidestar (now called Candid). These independent organizations will help you make sure your donation is to a real charity that uses your donation well. You should research to find a charity with a proven track record of success.

    Know who you are giving to before you click the “Donate Now” button. So many charities have similar names and it is confusing to donors. A google search will help locate a charity’s website to help validate it is the charity you are looking to support. Remember most nonprofits have a .org website rather than a .com site.

    “Give Local.” We all talk about the success of many main street communities of the “Shop Local” movement. You should also “Give Local”. Think about what you value and where you’d like to make a difference. Look around your community and you’ll see so many wonderful charities suffering now. Long lines at food banks, theater groups that are still shuttered, teachers without classroom supplies, and churches with fewer pews filled due to capacity limits all need your help. On Giving Tuesday, yes, I’ll support my alma mater but I’ll also support my local soup kitchen. It’s heartwarming to be able to see and feel my dollars at work.

    Giving Tuesday is about encouraging people to do good in any way they can. Maybe it’s giving money, but maybe it’s giving your time, talent, energy, or expertise. Maybe, it’s just about being kind to someone. With no money required, everyone can participate. This is the year to join in this movement. I know what I’ll be doing on December 1st. Do you?

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