Giving Thought: It’s not too late to support your favorite causes
It is the final day of 2020. A day that often concludes the “giving season,” the period beginning at Thanksgiving when most people make their charitable donations. For many nonprofits, this is the most important time of the year; the funds raised now allow them to continue to provide their programs and services into the next year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made this year especially challenging for nonprofit organizations. Those that provide humanitarian aid have seen an increased demand for their services but not necessarily an increase in the operating support needed to deliver them. Other nonprofits have had to completely rethink how they offer their programs and, with fundraising and other income generating events curtailed or cancelled, have struggled to attract the contributions needed to keep going.
Many of you have already given generously to nonprofit organizations and causes near and far. And some of you may still be planning to make year-end donations. No matter where you are on your charitable giving timeline, know that your support is needed, now more than ever. And know that it is not too late to give.
Here are a few suggestions to make it easy to contribute.
Donate online. Nearly every nonprofit or cause you care about will have an option to give through their website. Online giving is easy and can be done at any time of day or night, day of the week, month of the year. The gift is processed immediately, and the organization knows right away that you’ve supported it. One thing to consider: some online donation platforms give you the option of adding a small processing fee to your contribution. By paying this fee, you’re ensuring that the organization gets the full amount of your donation.
Give where you live (or visit). Whether you live here full time, have a second home, or just drop in for a vacation every now and then, you know how extraordinary the Aspen area is. It takes a lot of effort by a lot of people to maintain this vibrancy. And, behind the people are local, often small, nonprofit organizations working hard to ensure that everyone thrives. These organizations need your support and your support will make a big difference. (If you’re just passing through and would like some suggestions, please visit aspencommunityfoundation.org.)
Give more (or more frequently). If you are able, increase your giving amount and the number of organizations and causes you support. There are various ideas about the “right amount” for giving based on your income. Some give 10%, some give 50%, some sign up for the Giving Pledge and commit a majority of their wealth to philanthropy. And don’t limit your giving to once a year; local nonprofits need support year-round. Many organizations now make it easy to make recurring donations throughout the year.
Give in someone’s honor or memory. What better way to show your appreciation of others than by doing good in their name? It is a lovely gesture; the organization benefits, and the honoree is touched. Similarly, you can honor a loved one who has passed with a gift in their memory to an organization they valued. Many people are now suggesting memorial gifts be made instead of sending flowers.
Give yourself. Your time, talent and energy are valuable. Share it with those causes and organizations to which you donate. Volunteering is a great way to not only connect with the organizations, but to also connect with your community; to foster relationships with the beneficiaries of your support. And it can be good for your mind and body too. Studies show that volunteering makes you happy, increases your self-confidence, provides a sense of purpose, and can help you stay physically active.
So, while you’re making plans to ring in the new year, know that there is still time to give in 2020. It doesn’t matter the amount. A gift of any size is important and meaningful and can make a difference for children, families, animals, the environment, whatever cause you care about.
Here’s to a new year, full of hope, health, happiness, prosperity and generosity.
Tamara Tormohlen is the executive director of Aspen Community Foundation.