Did you know the United States is the 5th most generous country in the world out of 153 ranked countries? According to the World Giving Index (WGI), which was compiled by the Charities Aid Foundation using data gathered by Gallup, the index found that 57% of the U.S. population donates money, volunteers their time or helps a stranger on a monthly basis.
Below are three key items to consider when determining your charitable support:
1. Will you give a monetary donation, donate food or clothing, or volunteer time?
Giving money is not the only way to give to charities. You can donate your time at a food pantry or church serving a meal, tutoring a child, volunteering at a hospital or senior center, cleaning up a park or a school. You can donate clothing, non-perishable food or even your car.
2. If you give a monetary donation, how much will you donate?
An interesting fact is those who earn the least usually give the most. According to an analysis of 2007 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data by McClatchy, the poorest fifth of Americans donated 4.3% of their incomes – more than double the percentage pledged by the nation’s richest fifth who gave just 2.1% of their incomes.
If you donate money, don’t forget to factor it into your budget. Typically, people donate between 3% – 10% of their taxed income. Remember it’s important to be able to pay your bills, cover expenses without using credit cards and contribute to savings before giving to charity. One way to set aside money for charity is to forego or cut back on luxuries or non-essentials such as a daily latte, meals out or premium cable.
Don’t forget to get a receipt for your donation and to include it on your taxes, if you itemize deductions.
3. Which organization(s) will you support?
Many factors go into deciding which organizations you support – religion, experience with an illness, awareness of a cause via friends or family, personal interest in a topic such as literacy. Whatever your decision is based on, you’ll want to be sure your time and energy is being used appropriately. One website that evaluates some of the largest charities’ financial health is Charity Navigator.
We hear a lot about donating and volunteering during the holidays. But organizations need support all year long, not just during the holidays. Seek to factor in donating or volunteering your time to your schedule monthly.
We kicked off our annual holiday giving campaign in our branches benefitting several groups in our communities including the disadvantaged, people with developmental disabilities and children battling cancer. We’re supporting the organizations via clothing, food, toy and monetary donations. All details on the organizations and types of donations being sought can be found on our website at standardbanks.com/holiday. If you wish to make a donation, please stop by a branch before December 18th.