The holidays are approaching which means it will soon be the season of giving. During the six-week holiday season that takes place between Thanksgiving and the new year, non-profits raise up to 50% of their yearly revenue.  

If you are planning on participating in the season of giving you might be overwhelmed with how and who you should donate to this year. Continue reading for our tips to help you make the most out of your charitable giving.

Decide on what’s important to you

Before picking what charity you want to give to, reflect on what causes are important to you. Think about what organization’s benefit causes that affect your loved ones, or look into any local charities that work towards causes specific to your community. For example, the Essex County Community Foundation and many other organizations are raising money for those affected by the Greater Lawrence gas explosions that occurred this year.    

Do your research

Before you donate, research the charities you are interested in. Online resources such as CharityWatch and GiveWell rate how efficiently an organization will use your fund and assess how much of each donation goes back into their programs. See where your charity ranks among others and ensure that it is a credible organization. Research also ensures you will not be scammed by a fake charity.

Exchange charitable donations instead of gifts

Instead of receiving gifts from your family members, friends or neighbors ask them to make a donation to a charity in your name, instead of a gift. You can also make donating a new tradition with your extended family members in place of a gift exchange.

Make a pledge

Making a pledge is a great way to donate without having to pay a large amount upfront. When you sign up for a pledge, you sign up to pay a certain amount for a given time period. Pledge to pay $10 each month for 6 months to make donating much more manageable on your budget.

Don’t just give to the charities that contact you first

During the holidays, charities often reach out via phone, email, direct mail, and in person. Don’t feel obligated to donate just because they were the first organization to ask you. Make sure to research before donating and look into their cause, their values and how much of your funds would actually be put to use.

Be cautious before clicking on email links that appear to be from non-profit organizations during the holiday season. Some phishing scams will target users by posing as charities seeking donations in emails.

Take advantage of gift-matching

Check with your human resources department to see if your employer has a matching program in place for charitable giving. In addition, during the holiday season, some businesses run matching campaign challenges and offer to match everyone’s donations during a specific time frame. Taking part in a matching campaign increases your donation without actually having to spend more from your wallet.

To help you manage your donations this season and tackle holiday expenses, CTFCU is offering two holiday promotions including a holiday loan promotion and a holiday club promotion. Our online financial education center is also a great resource for free money management courses so you can make the most of your personal finances this season.