Part of the responsibility of having is giving back to others in need and it’s important for people of all financial ability and circumstance to donate regularly. Most people make a donation at least once in their lives, and many do so on an ongoing basis.
However, the interaction usually ends there. The last time you made a charitable contribution, did you ever follow up to find out how your donation impacted the organization?
CharityNavigator.org advises after you have donated, “be sure to follow up with the charity in a few months to find out (a) how your donation was put to use and (b) if the organization needs additional support.” This practice can be extended to apply to any kind of charitable contribution you make.
Follow Up on Your Money
After you donate to charity, do you ever wonder what it was spent on? Depending on the size of the organization, donations are either contributed directly to the cause or allocated to help pay for running the organization itself as well. Either way, seeing how your money is put to use gives you a more personal relationship with your charity.
In addition, money is always appreciated, but you can help in other ways. Often, following up on how a charity spends the money they receive will reveal other contributions you can make.
For example, the crisis in Haiti sparked an unprecedented fundraising effort on the part of Americans, but only a portion of the donations could be used immediately. The President and Executive Director of Charity Navigator, Ben Berger, is quoted by ABC News as explaining, “The ability of the organizations to manage this tremendous volume of need and with their infrastructure – they can only do just so much at any given time.”
If you really care about a cause, find out what’s needed most. Sometimes, it’s just your physical presence. Maybe it’s food, water or other scarce goods. If you’ve been sending cash to an animal shelter, for instance, and find out that they use a large proportion of funds to purchase dog beds and food, save someone the time and effort by buying these things yourself and bringing it to them.
Follow Up on Your Time
If you really don’t have any spare cash to contribute to a cause, you certainly can find the time to help out. Time is just as valuable as money when it comes to charities. In fact, according to a report by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the number of Americans who volunteered last year rose to 63.4 million, the highest since 2005. It’s likely you were one of them, or have been in the past.
Have you ever volunteered to be a big brother or sister, or maybe read to schoolchildren once a week? Consider why you did so. Hopefully, it’s because you wanted to impact a young person’s life in a positive way.
If you are truly invested in the well being of a child, check up on how they’re doing now. See how the attention you gave them contributed to their development as a well-rounded person. They will appreciate your consideration and you’ll gain a greater understanding of how significant your time and actions really are.
Regardless of how you choose to give, following up later on will increase the value of your charitable contribution. Charity should be more than just a habit – it should be something you enjoy that promotes a greater appreciation for yourself and others, too.
The Benefits of Donating
There are lots of reasons to donate to charity, too, whether you give money or some of your valuable time. You can receive tax breaks, help out a cause that is special to you or simply feel good about giving.
Really, though, there’s more to giving than just mailing in a check or accumulating a set number of hours every week. You enjoy a brief sense of self-satisfaction, but then what? You may find that the most valuable charitable contribution is your sincere interest in the beneficiary. Truly getting involved with a cause can make your donation all the more worthwhile and enlighten you as to how you can make a greater impact.
This guest post was written by Go Banking Rates, bringing you informative personal finance content and helpful tools, as well as the best interest rates on financial services nationwide. Follow them on Twitter at @GoBankingRates and on Facebook at /GoBRates