Have you survived Black Friday and Cyber Monday? They’ve become as traditional as turkey and pumpkin pie on our Thanksgiving tables. But whether you are a shopaholic delighted to get great deals or a Grinch who bah humbugs the whole scene, I hope you will join a national day of caring today, #GivingTuesday and make it another day that is red-inked on your calendar.
What is #GivingTuesday?
#GivingTuesday (hashtagged because this is being promoted heavily on Twitter) is a national giving campaign recognizing the importance of philanthropy and service to non-profit organizations. Last year was the first time the initiative was launched by the folks at the 92nd Street Y who partnered with the United Nations Foundation, and the outcome was a huge success.
Along with many other bloggers, I am adding my voice as a Social Media Ambassador to get the word out about this special day of compassion.
With the warmth and merriment of the holidays upon us, it is the perfect time to think of charities that need our support.
There are so many ways to make a positive impact with your donation of money or time. Nicholas Kristof mentioned a few deserving organizations in his op-ed in The New York Times on Sunday. You can see how far a modest donation can go to help others. Will you take a moment today to do your part to make the world a better place?
How do you know where your money actually goes?
Have you ever made a donation and wondered how much of it would reach its recipients? How do we know if a charity is all it says it is? We expect that our dollars will be spent not on administrative costs or salaries but on direct service to its cause.
The reality is that not all charities are created equal, and some are run more efficiently than others. We need to do our due diligence by checking out the financials and business practices before we decide to click on “send.”
Sounds a little daunting, doesn’t it?
That’s why I was very happy to learn of Charity Navigator, a website that evaluates charities around the world. This is an amazing resource that has done the legwork for you and can help guide you in your decision-making process. You can click on the name of the organization and instantly get a handle on how it manages its funds.
Charity Navigator CEO Ken Berger explains that we often make decisions based on our heart, which is not entirely a bad thing, but it is important to us as donors to know how organizations will spend our contribution. Therefore, we need to check the data to see how charities are performing and use this information to guide our decisions.
I spent some time on this site and was surprised more than once. I was relieved to find out that an animal charity that I have supported for years rated highly in every category, but dismayed to learn that another one did not. This information has helped me make my choices this year.
How will you give back on #Giving Tuesday?
Disclosure: I have received no compensation from #GivingTuesday or Charity Navigator for this post.
All opinions are my own.