Charitable Giving

money_giftI know this is topic is not what you would expect from an IT consulting company, and probably not normally the time you hear advice about charitable giving, but I believe in planning ahead. If you take the time to research and make decisions now, your year end scramble to decide which charities are worthy of your donations, will be a breeze.

Years ago, Chuck and I were making small donations to charities all over the globe. We made sure we at least liked their focus, but really didn’t put much thought into it beyond that. Well, it soon got overwhelming with dozens of envelopes in our mailbox and LOTS of phone solicitations. So we decided to do some serious research on the charities that we REALLY felt strongly about, then pool the money together and make larger donations to those charities we chose.

First we whittled down the list of charities to the ones that really tugged at our hearts. Then chose a few with global focus and a few with local focus. We used a couple of charity rating websites to get a learned opinion on how the charities were managed to make sure our donation would be put to good use. We ended up with a short list that we really felt were worthy of our money.

Then, of course we had to decide what to do with the ones that didn’t make the cut. The envelopes were easily tossed, but the phone calls were a bit more challenging. Finally, I came up with a statement that defined our decision while still respecting the person on the other end of the phone. It goes something like this: “There are so many worthy causes in this country (world, community), and I know yours is one of them. But we decided to narrow our focus to the ones that really touched our hearts and unfortunately, yours was not one. Thank you for your time and what you do on behalf of this organization. Please remove our name and number from your call list.” Get ready to say no thank you a couple more times. Unfortunately, I’ve had to hang up on a couple, but eventually, our phone stopped ringing so much and the mail has really cut down.

WARNING – SHAMELESS PLUG FOLLOWS: If you are looking for a GREAT local charity (DuPage County), you’ll be hard pressed to find a better one than West Suburban Community Pantry. We volunteer there on a regular basis and are a sponsor for their yearly Spring Spectacular fundraiser. This year’s event has a Monopoly theme and some great entertainment. Check it out here.