It’s easy to feel the need to give back, especially during the holidays, because the spirit of giving is everywhere you look. However, how much of that equates to the good it intended for is another question. Here are some mistakes people make when donating to charity that are easily avoidable.
Top Mistakes People Make When Donating to Charity
Even good intentions can go wrong sometimes. Donating to charity is a great way to lend a helping hand to those in need, but it is essential to follow certain steps to ensure that your contribution is helpful. These are some of the most common mistakes people make when donating to charity and what you can do to avoid them.
Failing To Research
One of the top mistakes people make when donating to charities is not asking enough questions. By taking the time to research the donation center you’re giving to, you’ll know exactly where your efforts will go, what the cause is, and all the fine details that go along with it. For instance, if you need to donate non-cash items, there are plenty of guides to donating non-cash items that can help you.
Times of sudden crisis, like hurricanes and earthquakes, often set off a global reaction to help, which is wonderful. However, it’s often the case that meaningful contributions can end up causing more harm than good. Before you mail off a box of clothes, check with local, on-the-ground organizations in the area of the disaster to find out what they actually need. In many cases, monetary donations are best since supply chains and delivery efforts often stall in the wake of a natural disaster.
Waiting All Year
Giving should be something that we all practice—but not only during the holiday season. People coming together during the holidays is a beautiful thing. Shelters and food banks are often brimming with donations in November and December. They can certainly use all the assistance they receive for the holidays, but consider making an additional donation when it’s not such an apparent time to contribute.
The Martyrdom Effect
Research has shown that people are often more inclined to donate when the process requires a great deal of effort or “pain.” Of course, donating shouldn’t have to be painful to be meaningful. Just like small acts of kindness can add up, so can small donations. Even if you don’t have a lot to give, it doesn’t mean your gift won’t help someone. Instead of making a single, large financial contribution to a charity, consider donating a few dollars each month.
Giving your time also shouldn’t require “pain.” Busy parents don’t always have a lot of time to give. Try finding ways to double up on your time instead. Clean up a beach while you play on it. Try a Citizen Scientist project while on a family hike. Turn a family spring cleaning day into a day to collect donations from your closet.
The common mistakes people make when donating to charity are easy to avoid with a little research and thought before contributing.
What are some of your favorite charities? Share the organizations you’ve contributed to on our Local Anchor Facebook group.