Getting involved in charitable organizations gives businesses and individuals the ability to give back to their communities in a meaningful way. Whether a charity is focused on the immediate area or on global concerns, becoming involved will help both the charity and the donor. Choosing which charity to sponsor can be overwhelming, as there are thousands of choices available. Sean Lourdes, a philanthropist and Hollywood executive, breaks down the process of getting involved with a charity and explains how this can benefit your business or personal life.
Choosing a Charity
Consider which part of society you would like to benefit. Whether you want to work with an organization like the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts to benefit today’s youth, or with the Red Cross to benefit disaster preparedness, there are hundreds of reputable charities waiting to be supported.
Within these areas, it is smart to research each charity. Not all organizations are focused on providing services to those in need. Some charities devote too much of their fundraising money to their CEOs or to fundraising efforts.
Look on websites like GuideStar to determine how much of their budget goes directly to supporting their mission. You will also be able to see whether this charity has been flagged for unethical behavior in the past. Other helpful services include the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and Charity Navigator.
Another important aspect of choosing a charity is making sure that it conforms to your ideological stance. For example, some charities like the Salvation Army have been accused of being against LGBT members of society. If this is important to you, you may wish to avoid donating to these charities.
When you are first getting involved with a charity, decide whether you want your involvement to be mainly financial or whether you would like to donate your time instead. Donating time and effort to a charity can be just as important as contributing funds to its mission. Donating time is a good option for people who do not have as much disposable income to spend on charitable contributions.
Start by browsing the charity’s website. They will often have pages for donors or volunteers where you can find out what is involved. Many organizations have donor or volunteer coordinators who can answer all of your questions regarding how to help.
When volunteering, you will often start at the bottom, but these tasks can be some of the most important activities associated with the charity. For example, you may want to volunteer with a Scout troop for boys or girls. Be ready to be trained in helping members of your community. There are specific skills involved in volunteering for many organizations, and you may need to have a background check completed before working directly with children.
As you progress through the ranks of volunteers, you will have the ability to join steering committees and put your business expertise to work. Being in charge of other volunteers is a responsible position.
One of the benefits of becoming involved with a charitable organization is the ability to deduct financial contributions from your taxes. If you itemize, you will be able to write off donations to 501(c)3 organizations. While the tax benefits are attractive, getting involved for its own sake is equally rewarding.
Give Back to Society
Sean Lourdes encourages businesses and individuals to become involved in charitable pursuits. Choose a charity wisely and put effort into your volunteer work. Purely financial donations are also a huge help to charities in your community and around the world.
People who give back have greater satisfaction with life as a whole. It makes sense that everyone should consider donating or volunteering with a charity.