Guest writer: Jennifer Cassetta, clinical nutritionist, personal trainer and self-defense expert.
November 15th is National Philanthropy Day (NPD) and according to the NPD official website (AFPnet.org), on this day thousands of people around the world come together to both 1) put that word into action and 2) recognize the change that word has brought to our communities.
One amazing thing to come from this last election (no matter what your political views are) is that there has been a surge of people wanting to come together and donate their time, energy and resources to people and organizations in need.
Here are 10 ways to give back wisely and safely on National Philanthropy Day and all year round:
- Develop a giving plan
Now is the perfect time to plan your giving for 2017. Will it be a monthly, quarterly or yearly donation? How much and to which organizations will you support? Write it all down where you keep your yearly goals.
- Automate your donations
Once your giving plan is complete, you can go into your online bank account and set up automatic payments to your favorite charity when you wish to make them.
- Donate time
If money is tight, donate your time and talents, they are just as valuable as cash money! In the past, I have volunteered at women’s shelters and taught self-defense classes. On a yearly basis, I also volunteer at The Giving Spirit, an organization that supplies homeless men, women and children in Los Angeles, with a back pack full of supplies to live on the streets. As a volunteer, we hit the streets right before the holidays and give these packs out, while connecting, listening and empathizing with the recipients. Like to cook? Donate at a soup kitchen. Love style? Donate your clothes or styling sense to the Glass Slipper Project. Use your unique abilities to help others.
- Buy products that give back
When shopping for pepper spray and personal safety products, choose SABRE brand. Their pink product line will donate funds to National Breast Cancer Foundation. The SABRE red product line donates proceeds to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network) and offers sexual assault survivors a chance to share their stories and resources that provided them comfort during their time of need. Shop self-defense products helping people around the world.
- Track your contributions
Track your contributions and pay with check or credit card, not cash. At the end of the year you can tally your donations and give them to your tax preparer and hopefully use them as a tax write-off. Why not?
- Be safe online
If you’re giving online, be sure that the website has appropriate security and privacy features. For example, on the donation, the address should be begin with “https” to signify that the site is secure and is safe to provide credit card and other information.
- Do some digging
If you want to buy a product that will benefit a charity, for example, tickets to an event, candy, or tee shirts, find out how much will actually go to the charity. How much an organization will receive will differ. There’s no right amount, but be aware that it’s quite likely that not all of the money will be going to the charity. If you’re concerned, contact the charity and ensure the solicitor/seller has an official relationship with the organization.
- Think with your heart
Choose your charities based on criteria that are especially important to you. There’s so much need in the world so when you give, it should be make you feel good too. Have you been touched by cancer, a disabled child, or injured as a veteran? Make your heartfelt donations to those charities to help people like yourself. Are you an animal lover? Choose a charity or a local shelter to donate to. If you really don’t know where to start, Thanksgiving is a no-brainer! Call your local food pantry, shelter, church, synagogue or mosque and ask what food donations they need for families that can’t afford a Thanksgiving dinner.
What small step will you do to honor National Philanthropy Day?