Where and How to Give On Giving Tuesday
If the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday have left you feeling a bit hollow, consider that today is Giving Tuesday, a globally celebrated day of philanthropy. Launched in 2012, the day promotes charitable acts of giving, whether that’s donating your time or your money to good causes.
How to choose a charity
Not all charities are alike, as some spend their donations inefficiently, or perhaps spend too much money on marketing rather than helping people directly through their charitable programs. But choosing the right charity isn’t easy. Charities are commonly ranked based on having low administrative costs (under 25% of the total budget), but that metric can be overly simplistic, too, especially for larger charities that invest heavily in fundraising but are still effective at piping donations into their programs.
That said, the best charities operate with transparency and accountability, and you should know what your donations are paying for. Ask yourself if a given charity has a mission statement with clearly defined objectives, and whether they track their progress toward meeting those goals. As an example, if an organization’s purpose is to provide clean water to children in developing countries, can they show you how many wells they’ve dug or how much clean water has been provided? If you don’t see a mission statement, or a list of the board of directors, or links to recent financial reports on a charity’s site, maybe think twice about donating.
When it comes to picking a charity, a good place to start is through doing some research at sites like charitynavigator.org , charitywatch.org, and givewell.org. These watchdog groups evaluate charities based on their tax filings, complaints against them, potential conflicts of interest, and their operational transparency. The Better Business Bureau also has some good tips for vetting charities.
Charitable options for 2020
The following are charities you could donate to, but they’re just suggestions—don’t let us stop you from considering other, less well-known charities, too.
- GoFundMe has a Covid-19 Relief Fund providing relief to “families, individuals, and those fighting COVID-19 on the front lines.” The site has over 35,000 COVID-related campaigns to browse through as well.
- There’s currently a blood shortage, as the pandemic has affected blood drives, so why not donate blood? The American Red Cross is urging healthy donors to give blood, platelets, or AB plasma. America’s Blood Centers, the largest network of nonprofit blood centers in North America, can help you find a donor center near you.
- The Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation distributes 50% of its funds directly to restaurant workers, 25% to non-profits serving restaurant workers, and 25% for zero-interest loans to keep restaurants up and running.
- According to Feeding America, food banks are 60% busier than they were last year, so consider a donation as part of their Giving Tuesday fundraising drive. Proceeds will help American families who are struggling to make rent or pay grocery bills, and your money will go a lot farther toward feeding people facing food insecurity than donating canned goods will.
- United Way has a worldwide COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund, and 95% of your donation will be used to provide food and shelter to those impacted by the pandemic.
- GiveDirectly is a program that gives cash to very poor families, mostly in Africa, to spend on investments in business and agricultural assets, housing, and education.
- The Against Malaria Foundation provides funding for long-lasting insecticide-treated nets provided to developing countries. There is strong evidence that these nets reduce child mortality and malaria cases (malaria kills over 400,000 people annually, mostly children under five in sub-Saharan Africa).
- With PPE in many countries still in high demand, Direct Relief provides medical supplies to communities around the world, delivering millions of masks, gloves, and face shields to international health workers.
- Campaign Zero, a project from the nonprofit WeTheProtestors, supports policy analysis and legislation that seeks to end police violence. Recently the organization launched the “End All No-Knocks’ Campaign,” which seeks to ban the practice of “No-Knock” forcible police raids commonly carried out for low-level drug offenses, as well as other common-sense changes to the way police conduct search warrants. Donate to the campaign here.
- Donations made to the Freedom for Immigrants’s National Bond Fund are used to release detained immigrants, including people arrested in ICE raids and mothers separated from their children at the border, by paying for the cash bond that many of them can’t afford.
- CommonCause is a nonpartisan coalition that promotes democracy and works to enfranchise voters across the country through grassroots organizing and litigation. They seek to modernize elections, making them more fair, secure, and accessible with automatic voter registration laws and same-day registration at polling places on Election Day. Donate here.
Donate your time
You don’t have to donate money to give back to your community, as your donated time is valuable, too. Consider volunteering for a charity or to serve on a community board. The right volunteer opportunity might help you reduce your own pandemic stress, make new friends, and even help you with your career.