‘Tis the Season for Giving…Corporate Responsibility and Charity Selection
The holidays have a way of bringing out the generosity in people. As a business owner, showing your generosity is a form of corporate responsibility. But with all of the possible charities to support, how do you identify the right one for you and your company to help?
The outline below can assist you in making a charity decision that is close to your heart.
- Choose a cause that you are passionate about.
- Many different people are in need, so finding the perfect charity starts with identifying a cause that is important to you. Around the holidays, many focus on children in need, or protecting homeless people from the cold. Others focus on supporting research for curing a terminal illness, or giving a vet the holiday they deserve. Think about your life. When you watch commercials or the news, what issues bring a tear to your eye? Looking at your friends and family, what challenge has affected them most? Listen to your heart and draw from your own experience to determine a cause that really hits you deeply and personally.
- Decide how you would like to support your cause.
- Now that you know which cause you want to support, decide HOW you would like to donate. Are you going to fundraise and donate money? Are you providing your time by giving your service to others? Will you be physically available, like working at a food bank – or financially available, through writing a check? Do you have a special skill, like knitting, that you can draw upon to create blankets and hats for the homeless? Do you have time you can spend standing in front of a store to ring a bell for donations? Decide how you are most likely able to help before you choose the specific charity you will support.
- Select the geographic area you would like to impact.
- Many charitable organizations, near and far, are available for support. If you are donating to help research a cure for a disease, will you be donating to a national organization such as the American Cancer Society? Or would you prefer helping closer to home, such as providing for a local family affected by this particular disease? Would you like to create gift packages to send to troops overseas, or bring care packages for local vets to your city’s veteran’s hospital? Deciding on geographic impact will make a big difference in your charitable giving decision.
- Conduct research and select your charity.
- Thousands of charities vie for our support, and the process of finding the best charity for you to support could be overwhelming. The steps above should help you wean out many charities that do not apply to your cause or your intentions. Even after taking those steps, you may still find the list of charities available to be lengthy. Making a final decision can be tough. Nearer to home, you may want to contact community organizations (as one example, Goodfellows), local food banks, or soup kitchens. Many local groups gather lists of families you could specifically support, or provide food and/or shelter for those in need. Taking a broader view, check out websites such as charities.org or https://www.charitynavigator.org/. These sites will allow you to better understand your options. On those sites, you can find lists to review, such as “Top 10” and “Charities to Avoid.” These websites also provide statistics about charitable organizations, including how much they spend on overhead expenses and salaries.
*Helpful Tips: Choose a charity with a 90% donation rate or greater. Several popular charities, including some widely known organizations, tend to have a lower donation rate (often in the 80% range, or even lower) because they use many of the dollars they earn for fundraising and administrative expenses rather than for the cause you want to support. This fact is something to be aware of when choosing the right charity for you.
Regardless of the charity you decide to assist, we commend you for making the decision to give. We hope that this outline for choosing your charity is helpful, and makes your decision a little less stressful.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Sigma Financial!
Have you thought about your corporate responsibility? We have…