The holidays are definitely the perfect time to give, but to whom should you give? Choosing a charity, family or special group to offer financial aid is not the easiest decision in the world. Most of us moms have tender hearts towards children, especially at this time of year. Naturally, Kid's Activities blog is going to lean towards the charities that focus on enriching a child's special holiday.
You may wonder, Why should I give?
Your child is watching and imitating your lifestyle and financial choices.
Family financial legacy is something we hand down to our kids whether we think about it or not. It is one of the reasons why we are so giddy about this money series on Kids Activities Blog, Creating family memories on a budget, inspired and sponsored by Dave Ramsey's Endorsed Local Providers (ELP) program which can help you find trustworthy and competent investment advisors, realtors, insurance agents or tax services in your hometown. You can sit down and create a custom financial plan with someone you are comfortable with and that your neighbors would recommend making it easier for you to set aside money for what is important to your family.
Here are some tips to help you sort through all the avenues of charitable giving for this special time of year.
How to Choose a Charity
Think local. If you do some research, there are probably some local children's homes, orphanages or child advocates in your area of town. Arrange to stop by for a visit. Many of these places depend on donations to function, so they are more than willing to show you around. If you are pleased with the institution, speak with a leader about the home's most pressing needs or how you could provide Christmas gifts for the children. This is my favorite way to get my kids involved because they love picking out gifts and delivering them to other kids!
Choose what reflects your beliefs. Whenever you invest your time or money into something, you are giving your approval. Take time to research the charity, mission work or special fund before you give. Make sure the beliefs and policies reflect your family's moral standards. One thing to check is how much of your donation will actually go to the cause you seek to support.
Think outside large organizations. There are many groups around the globe that are working to help others and could use your donation and charitable giving. Consider what your family thinks is most important – is it religion, family, children or healthy living? Once you have nailed down what your family feels is most passionate about, begin researching people and groups who work full-time in those areas. Check out their websites, affiliations and social media to get a real sense of what their goals and work is all about and who is involved. You may find you have a closer connection to someone working on behalf of the group than you thought. Contact that person for the real story. Smaller mission groups tend to be over-looked and needier of your giving.
Consider your close friends and family. Before you give to a stranger, consider the needs of people with whom you already have a relationship. Perhaps a family member has been swamped with unforeseen medical bills. Or, maybe your best friend's husband just lost his job. Is your neighbor a single mom that is just scraping to get by? A special need may be only a few footsteps away. Although giving to friends and family doesn’t have the tax advantages, the rewards are of a different kind.
If you are interested in larger organizations but are unsure which ones to trust, here are a few that have earned an honest reputation and have focused on helping kids during the holidays.
- Angel Tree. This is a prison fellowship that strives to connect kids of prisoners with their children. They will host Christmas parties with the help of local church congregations and provide gifts for the kids.
- Operation Christmas Child. This is a program in which you fill shoeboxes with school supplies, gifts and notes of hope and encouragement to children living all over the world.
- Make-a-Wish Foundation. This amazing program focuses on granting children a special wish who live with life-threatening illnesses. Many children and their families have made unforgettable memories through the giving, planning and aid of Make-a-Wish Foundation.
- Ronald McDonald House. This grassroots charity offers homes away from home to families that are receiving medical treatment far away from home. They strive to keep families together during the already emotional trying times of illness. Ronald McDonald House also offers mobile dental and medical clinics at affordable costs in certain areas.
- Salvation Army. Financial reports show that the Salvation Army gives 96% of all received monies straight into the mission work. They focus on community centers, disaster relief programs and refugee camps. I love that they will come pick up donations from the house eliminating any excuses not to give!
To whom should you give is a tough decision. Use your head and your heart as you choose a worthy need or desire to fulfill. Setting aside money to give is easier when you have an investment plan in place. Knowing that you are taking care of your family’s future financial needs can give you peace of mind and fuel a giving spirit.
Dave Ramsey’s Endorsed Local Providers program can help you find an investment professional in your area to advise and guide you through the complications of an investment portfolio. Don’t be intimidated by the amount you are starting to invest, everyone started with that first step! These investment professionals are all screened, rated by your neighbors and have the heart of a teacher to help you reach your family’s goals – all in your hometown.
Thanks so much to the Endorsed Local Providers for sponsoring Kids Activities Blog and inspiring this series on creating family memories on a budget. Last week we chatted about 12 Ways Moms Can Make Money from Home During the Holidays and check back next Sunday for a family activity that can show your kids how financially blessed they are in a tangible way.
Do you have a favorite charity?