Get Involved in Charity: Make a Difference this December

Every month is a good month for giving to charity. But here are some ways to reach out this December:

Giving Tuesday (December 2)

Giving Tuesday in the UK: Conspicuous Compassion

#GivingTuesday: Conspicuous Compassion

A whopping 10,000 organizations will take part in Giving Tuesday (#GivingTuesday, @GivingTues) this December 2 (Today!). The celebrations started in 2012 as a joint venture between the United Nations Foundation and the 92nd Street “Y” in New York, and was mostly promoted online, including as a trending topic on Twitter. The idea of Giving Tuesday extends Thanksgiving as a day of giving thanks, into another day of giving; therefore, December 2 is dedicated to global awareness of generosity.

Matthew Bishop, a Giving Tuesday co-founder, is the US Business Editor and Bureau Chief of The Economist. He reports donations on the last Giving Tuesday increased by 260%. The UNselfie movement has also tied in to Giving Tuesday. (The UNselfie movement includes taking a picture of yourself showing a message about a cause you believe in or care deeply for.) Through social media, the ability to affect and educate millions of people about global generosity has been successful.

Charity Donations and Taxes (all of December)

Charity Aid Foundation thanks you for donating

Charity Aid Foundation lets you donate as you earn

Tax season is just around the corner, and in order to take advantage of tax-deductible donations for 2014, anyone who itemizes deductions should make their donations by December 31.

Charity donations will not only help you on your taxes, but also help a deserving organization.

IRS Publication 526 explains criteria for tax–deductible contributions and donations. Generally, if an organization is listed with a 501c3 status, your donation to it is deductible.

Some large-name charities that you can receive a deduction for contributing to include:

  • religious organizations
  • nonprofit schools
  • nonprofit hospitals
  • The Salvation Army
  • American Red Cross
  • CARE
  • Goodwill Industries
  • United Way
  • Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and Boys and Girls Clubs of America

 Volunteer or Donate to a Shelter or Food Bank (all of December)

Cold weather makes us think about people who suffer without heat, or those who are homeless. Shelters need assistance this time of the year, because their charity resources may be strained by extra people using their services. Many organizations need volunteers, because their staff may need to adjust their hours for the holidays.

In addition, homeless shelters often need blankets, sleeping bags, or warm clothing items, and both shelters and food banks usually need food donations. Call your local shelter or food bank to find out how you can help.

Feed My Starving Children charity volunteer opportunitiesFood for thought, from Feed My Starving Children

Charity begins at Home (all of December)

Especially in the coldest months, it is a good idea to check on neighbors and relatives to make sure they are doing okay. People who have a fixed income may find themselves rationing their heat, even if it puts them in a dangerous situation. Offer to help someone you know by cooking them a hot meal or giving them some spare blankets. Help a relative or neighbor winterize their home, or invite them over on an especially cold day, when you can share good company and stay warm together.

Charity begins in your own backyard: check in on your neighborsCharity begins in your own backyard: check in on your neighbors

There are always hungry people, children who need clothing, organizations that distribute vaccinations. And, don’t forget all the animals that may need a special place to stay warm, or a way to get food when the ground is frozen.

Please, consider who you can help this December. Everlasting Footprint reminds you to give to charity in any way you can.

About Cindy Readnower

Cindy Readnower, MBA, specializes in sales, marketing, and entrepreneurship. An award-winning certified Life Coach, business consultant, and publisher at Skinny Leopard Media, she helps writers produce and promote their books. She is a newspaper columnist, author of "Inherited Secrets," and a blogger.

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