After the buying binges of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, a day for doing for others and giving back to the community can be a refreshing change of pace. Instead of splurging on gifts, on Giving Tuesday, people are encouraged to give back to the community and then invite others to join in via social media.
Here are six ways to make the most of Giving Tuesday and stretch your dollars while doing good:
1. Find a cause that moves you.
Animals, kids, the environment, veterans … something has to touch your heart. Choose an organization that benefits your cause, but before donating, check out the group on CharityNavigator.org, an organization that evaluates and rates charities.
2. Search for matching programs to stretch your donation.
Save the Children, Feeding America, WorldVision and Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina are just a few of the organizations that have Giving Tuesday matching programs.
3. Check to see if your employer will match your donation.
If you can’t find the information on your company’s website or through the human resources department, check the Double the Donation company match directory.
4. Donate through your card issuer’s website.
American Express and Citi are among card issuers with online giving programs that let you easily donate your card rewards or use your card to give to participating nonprofits. With Citi, when cardholders donate ThankYou points, PointWorthy’s standard 10 percent processing fee won’t be deducted. That means 100 percent of your donation goes to the charity.
5. Consider giving your time instead of money.
Last year I volunteered to teach credit basics to some of San Francisco’s homeless. In the process, the homeless ended up teaching me about credit. I learned that many of the homeless need what everybody else in America needs: credit information and guidance to help them get ahead.
6. Spread the word on social media.
Mention your donation and how great the organization you’re supporting is. The intention is to inspire other people to give. Use the hashtag #GivingTuesday.
Making a difference on Giving Tuesday is easy, right? Well, it can be tough to help just one amazing group, and you don’t want to go broke, get into debt or overcommit. (I’m currently drawn to Cool Effect, a nonprofit that supports carbon reduction initiatives, and I’ve written before about my passion for Downtown Streets Team, an organization that helps homeless people achieve independence and dignity through work).
What you can be sure of, though, is that you’ll feel good when you help others. Studies show that donating money makes the giver happier. And as this is the season of joy, getting into the spirit now just makes sense.
See related: Startups, apps, issuers simplify charitable giving