Giving Back to Your Community

Giving never goes out of style. That is even more so true when average, everyday Americans engage in meaningful community holiday giving. No matter the circumstances, the holidays can be both a wonderful and stressful time.

Charitable gifts by caring individuals and organizations can help make the holidays a little brighter for those in need.   Recent studies have shown that charitable giving is declining.  Even though our wallets may be shrinking, we can still think creatively about helping out this holiday in any way we possibly can.  Even small contributions of our time, money or other donations can make a difference for our neighbors.
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Successful Community Holiday Giving Strategies – Whether you have a lot or just a little to give this holiday season, following a few guidelines can help make your community holiday giving strategy successful.

Look for Inspiration – Navigate the seemingly endless options by identifying the group of people you want to help most. Think in terms of location, age or even specific challenges people face when deciding who to share your resources with. Locate a few organizations that support the people or cause(s) you feel most passionately about.
 
A Little Research Goes a Long Way – Identify a few organizations that help the people you are most concerned about in your community. Find out all you can about those organizations’ financial health, accountability and transparency. Websites like charitynavigator.org can help you determine how much of every dollar you give goes directly to helping people, and how much gets eaten up by administrative costs.

Don’t Forget to Give Yourself Credit – Make sure you keep a bank record, written receipt or letter from the charity you give to that includes the charity’s name, amount of your donation and giving date. If you itemize your tax deductions, you can include your donation as a deduction on the return for the year in which you made the donation.

Standard Bank is supporting Operation St. Nick, Park Lawn, Toys for Tots as well as holding food drives and clothing drives throughout Chicago and Northwest Indiana. Take all the legwork out of your gift by dropping off a toy, food item or donation at your local branch. Partnering up with Standard Bank or other community organizations are an easy way to make your gift go farther this holiday season.  

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