It’s my birthday, and there are few things I love more than gifting—especially charitable gifting, which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and lowers the amount of money I give to the government to spend on unfounded wars in foreign lands. In honor of my birth, here are a few tips to giving charitable gifts wisely (and generously).
1. Know how much money is actually going to those who need it. Sites like Charity Navigator, Give.org, and GuideStar can help you determine whether a charity is legitimately helping those they claim to be or whether they’re a creepy #KONY2012 situation.
2. Give a lot to a few. Instead of donating a few bucks to a lot of organizations, use the guides previously listed to find just a few that you truly support, and donate a lot to them. There are a two incentives to this: One, you’ll make more of an impact, and two, the charities you donate to will likely be more careful with your personal information because they don’t want other causes to come and snatch you up from them.
3. Document everything and deduct it all from your taxes. Ah, the many beauties of charitable donations. Take that, military industrial complex!
4. Donate your time. Volunteer! You’ll feel awesome about yourself and develop skills and new networks that can help you when you’re looking for a new job or promotion.
5. Hang up on telemarketers and don’t answer your door to clipboarders. They are the worst. Don’t fall for their nonsense and don’t enable them. If they really want your money and have nothing to hide, they can send you information through the mail or over email without badgering you on the phone or on your lawn.
6. Make a wishlist of charitable gifts. Be honest: You don’t really need anything this year, right? So instead of opting for another hideous, unironically gross sweater from Aunt Edna, let her know that a donation to a cause you support would mean a lot more.