It’s also a time we spend reflecting on our year and the impact we have made collectively within our work, home and community. We find ourselves wanting to give generously to those individuals and organizations we are most grateful for. These tokens of gratitude and support become our way of celebrating the season, and spreading joy to others.
End of year gifts are a staple of the holidays because it embodies the true giving spirit of the season. Each gift has a ripple effect within the community. Year-end gifts are also crucial to a nonprofit’s operating budget to ensure their mission moves forward, and support services continued and expanded.
Charity Navigator notes, “Few people realize how large charities have become, how many vital services they provide, and how much funding flows through them each year. Without charities and non-profits, America would simply not be able to operate”. Nonprofit organizations are critical to the success of our communities because they bridge the gap of social services that public and private organizations are unable to provide.
Who are the key “elves” giving back during the holiday season? Corporate partners, community groups, foundations and seasonal grant opportunities all play important roles in holiday giving for the nonprofit community. However, one of the largest resources a nonprofit relies on is the power of individual donors. Yes, YOU are the most important gift under the nonprofit tree this holiday season! Giving USA Foundation outlined in 2014 individuals gave roughly $258.5 billion making up 72% of all charitable gifts, and representing a 5.7% increase over 2013 (4% when adjusted for inflation).
So where does an elf begin? Some suggestions include:
-IDENTIFY YOUR CHARITY OF CHOICE: Make a list of charities or causes to choose from. Online you can find the local and national chapters for your preferred nonprofit, and direct your gifts accordingly.
-ENSURE YOUR GIFT IS TAX-DEDUCTIBLE: To ensure your gift is tax-deductible check out these IRS Year-End Gift tips, as well as save any check numbers or online transaction invoices for your tax advisor.
-DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT! Check with your company to see if your donation is matched. Some organizations match 3x or 4x your initial gift during the holidays! Your donations can also be maximized through the Illinois State Tax Credit Program for qualifying nonprofits. The Illinois Affordable Housing Tax Credit Program has also been a wonderful resource for DuPage Habitat for Humanity to stretch the generous gifts of donors to help even more hard-working families in need of safe, affordable housing.
-VOTE WITH YOUR DOLLAR! Whether it’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Giving Tuesday you have the opportunity to vote with your dollar this season. There are great charitable gift partnerships and donation keepsakes that are available during the holidays to provide creative ways to giving back!
I encourage you to make the most of this holiday season with the giving tips above. Most importantly, I hope you know the invaluable impact your gifts have on the nonprofits you support and the constituents they serve. There is no better gift than the moments we share when all our loved ones are gathered together, celebrating and giving thanks. May your holidays be merry and bright, and may all your giving bring peace and delight!