Last minute Holiday Good Giving Guide Pt. 3 – 4 rock solid year-end giving tips

Year-end giving tips

This week we’ve covered gifts that do good and where it’s needed most. In the last of our 3-part series we tackle overhead concerns, matches and a little tax secret to stretch your giving.

20131. Next year, start in January

Honestly, charities don’t need you in December. (WOAH!?! Did he just say that?!?) Yes. The truth is, all help is great but charities need you much more in March, June and September, when times and budgets are tight. Spread your gift over the year and start your 2013 with a few year-long, monthly commitments so organizations know they can count on you AND save precious time and funds asking for your support.

2. Skip the overhead concerns

As Dan Pallota regularly shares, the overhead-to-program ratio doesn’t tell you anything about how effective the organization is. I’d temper that just a bit. While the ‘traditional’ view is that all organizations should be around/above 75% spent on programs and 25% spent on administration (or better), I’d challenge that in some GREAT organizations who are in a growth period may be 60/40 or even 50/50 for a year or two while they ramp up their capacity to then do more (and get to 80/20 or even 90/10).

More importantly, look at their outcomes. How many kids, puppies or trees are they helping and to what extent? Are they claiming they affect over 100,000 children but the change is mostly on the surface? Or are they affecting 200 but the services they offer are extensive and completely changing the life trajectory for those kids? Both are important for society – what matters is what is important to YOU.

3. Get the most out of your giving

Yeah, it can feel a little awkward to look for ‘coupons’ to save money on your philanthropy but look for matching opportunities that will double (sometimes triple or more!) the impact of your donation. Not only is your gift multiplied, but whomever made the larger, matching contribution will be even more committed to the organization when they see others are reaching deep into their wallets to help.

4. Wise Assets


Think of giving from your appreciated assets. Long story short, when you sell your stock, you get taxed. If you give it away, you don’t get taxed on them, PLUS you get the tax deduction. It’s one of the ‘cheapest’ ways to give. Calculate what you saved, and send a surprise additional donation to your favorite charity, or a new one! See your tax advisor for more.

Have another idea? Share in the comments!  Happy holidays my friends, and keep up the good!

– Nathan

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