Whether it be environmental issues, food insecurity or some other...

Whether it be environmental issues, food insecurity or some other cause, GivingTuesday can allow people to take an inventory of what resonates with them and give accordingly, experts said. Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto/B4LLS

Now that the Thanksgiving feasts are over and Cyber Monday has drawn to a close, nonprofits are hoping people will donate to worthy causes on GivingTuesday.

Whether it be environmental issues, food insecurity or some other cause, GivingTuesday can allow people to take an inventory of what resonates with them and give accordingly, experts said.

“Everyone has a specific cause or an issue that they care about and then you kind of drill down because it can be very overwhelming during the holiday season, especially when you’re looking for something to support or having a campaign for something,” said Marie Smith, director of donor relations and communications at the Long Island Community Foundation.

To find the right organization — and avoid scams — experts said donors should move effectively and efficiently, listening to their hearts but also looking at indicators such as a charity’s past work to see if they are a good candidate for giving.

WHAT TO KNOW

Whether it be environmental issues, food insecurity or elsewhere, GivingTuesday can allow people to take an inventory of the issues that resonate with them and give to those causes, experts say.

To find the right organization — and avoid scams — experts say donors should move effectively and efficiently, listening to their hearts but also looking at indicators such as a charity’s past work to see if they are a good candidate for giving.

In 2022, GivingTuesday estimated that more than $3 billion was raised in the United States, a 25% increase from 2020.

Here are some tips to think about when giving:

Which charity should I choose?

After deciding on an area that sparks your interest, it’s time to vet the charity.

The charity should be a 501(c)(3) organization, where the donation is going to be tax deductible, experts said.

Kevin Scally, chief relationship officer at Charity Navigator, which rates charities, said donors should be looking for trust indicators from organizations.

"Are they who they say they are? Do they have an articulated mission and model for being able to deliver on that?” he asked rhetorically in a phone interview.

He also advised against donating with your banking information or using cryptocurrency. Instead, he would encourage people to donate using a credit card, which offers better consumer protections.

But if donors do not have an individual charity, Smith said they can give to the Long Island Community Foundation’s community needs fund, which focuses on priority areas that include the environment and mental health.

Should I go to a large or small charity?

Scally tells people to look at charitable giving as a diverse investment portfolio.

“And so, let's say you care really deeply about a cause area. Instead of just supporting the large nonprofit that's maybe supporting people nationally or internationally, you may also want to give back to your local community,” he said.

Smaller charities or newer charities might not have been rated on a website like Charity Navigator, but he also stressed seeking trusted indicators, including demonstrations of their work or other ratings.

Among smaller charities doing important work are Stage the Change, which uses art to bring together high schoolers from different communities, according to the Long Island Community Foundation.

Does the giving have to be monetary?

Some people may feel timid about donating to charities because they can’t give large sums of money. But Scally says that moderate giving — including sums in the amount of $5 or $10 — can make a difference.

In 2022, GivingTuesday estimated that more than $3 billion was raised in the United States that day, a 25% increase from 2020.

For those unable to donate, experts say giving can take multiple forms, from donating money to charities, advocating for them on social media to giving away clothes or hosting a fundraiser.

“So [I] just encourage people not to give till it hurts, but give till it feels good,” Scally said.

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