How to Make Charitable Donations That Serve a Purpose
Becoming informed about charitable giving can lead to big returns—and even bigger community impact.
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SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION
Christy Pennington of Delaware Guidance Services takes a philanthropic view. “As a member of a society,” she says, “I feel very strongly that it is our responsibility to help those less fortunate then us. At some time or another in our lives, we have received or know someone who has received services from a nonprofit organization. The services provided are critical to the foundation of our society.”
It is basic human nature to want to help others, and the reward comes back two-fold. Giving to an organization also provides an opportunity for involvement and engagement within our communities, adds Pennington. “As a donor, you should be kept informed of the activities and opportunities provided by the organizations you have supported. Volunteer opportunities, educational opportunities and on-going communication are direct benefits to supporting an organization. Yhere are also tax advantages, leadership opportunities and social interaction that are direct benefits to giving.”
There are several reasons for giving, but where does the donated money go?
According to Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy, in 2012, American households, estates, corporations and foundations donated $316.2 billion to 1.1 million charitable organizations, and an additional 222,000 American religious organizations. Of that, about 32 peercent went to religious organizations, the industry consistently garnering the largest percentage of philanthropic dollars. Other industries receiving a relatively large portion of philanthropic funding in the U.S. are education (13 percent), human services (13 percent), foundations (10 percent) and health (9percent).
“The money we donate should go to those who need it,” Travers adds, “with smaller percentages to overhead, executives, marketing and far-too-frequent fund drives.”
Grundner says that the use of financial donations varies. “My advice is for donors to do some research and ask the organization.” he says. “Thankfully, technology has made the research task easier than ever before. Curious donors can do research right on an organization’s website, which usually provides enough information to give the reader a sense of where it gets its money, and how it spends it.