If you have ever given to a charity, it’s a pretty good bet that they are contacting at this time of year, asking you to consider donating to them in the lead up to Christmas. While it’s easy to switch off or get cynical, it is important to remember that Christmas appeals are vital for the charities and community organisations, and one of the key times that they receive community donations and support.
With all the requests however, it can get a bit overwhelming to work out who to support. Unless you are very wealthy, it is unlikely that you can give to all the groups you wish to support. To help out, I wanted to share a few tips on what I think about when organising my Christmas giving:
- I give money donations. While giving toys and food are helpful, cash provides flexibility for charities and means that they can decide where the money would be best used. It’s easier to deal with and organisations don’t need to deal with the issue of storing donated goods;
- I give support to groups that I have a direct relationship with. I like to know what the group does directly and understand the work they do everyday. For me, supporting local organisations who are working to support our local community suits me best. It also means that I am confident that I know my donation will be used, and it is being used to support the sorts of activities I care about;
- I think about what time of the year it is. While Christmas is full of joy for most families, for many of our local community organisations this is the most busy at this time of the year. For Christmas giving, I prioritise charities that are supporting disadvantaged families, those working with the victims of domestic and family violence, those who will be dealing with crisis and organisations providing direct services over the time of the year when most of us are holidaying;
- As my children are getting older, I am involving them in my giving. I want this to become a lifelong habit for them and its great for them to think beyond the stuff that they will get this Christmas. This year, they will be thinking about the organisations and causes that they want to support, and we will arrange a way for them to be involved in providing this gift; and
- I tell people that I am donating to charity. Culturally we are not used to telling people about our generosity. It has been proven however that telling others about our giving, motivates them to give as well. So, this year, I have provided donations to YWCA Canberra, the Domestic Violence Crisis Centre and the Early Morning Centre – all organisations that do amazing work in our community.
My biggest tip – give generously but consciously. It will make a huge difference to the organisations you give to. It will also make you feel great and will connect you to the causes you care about. It might even start a longer relationship for you to share your treasure, time or talents. Share your thoughts about the community organisations you will be supporting this Christmas season, and the great work they do.