How You Can Help on Giving Tuesday

There’s another important event to celebrate in conjunction with Thanksgiving and the craziness of the holiday shopping kickoff: Giving Tuesday.

Now in its sixth year, Giving Tuesday is an annual day of philanthropy, a day to remember all that you have and to share with those who are in need. Whether it’s a local organization, a grassroots effort, or a major charity, a wide variety of worthy causes are expected to benefit this year while consumers can take advantage of last-minute tax-deductible gifts.

One avenue for giving that has seen tremendous growth in recent years is digital philanthropy, such as web-based giving or mobile donations. One of the first global-scale events that brought attention to mobile donations was the 2010 hurricane that struck Haiti; the Red Cross received millions of dollars in donations from cellphone users who simply had to text the word “HAITI” to a five-digit number. The resulting ten dollar donation was simply added to their phone bills, and this mobile outreach resulted in 41% of the donations coming from consumers who were 34 years old or younger.

In the case of the Red Cross donations, giving was easy to do, didn’t require immediate access to funds, and was a trustworthy mechanism for donating money to a reputable charity. Donors were reached through social media campaigns, and at one point over a half a million dollars in donations came in during a single one-hour period.

This Giving Tuesday on November 28th, there are some important things to remember about where your money goes and how it gets there:

1. You don’t have to give all at once

A one-time donation is helpful but it can take a toll on your budget. Many charities will offer you the option to sign up for a once-a-month charge which lowers your upfront spending and helps support the charity throughout the year. Even better, it becomes am an automatic monthly expense that you can incorporate into your budget without having to sit down and write a check.

2. Be a proactive giver

Instead of getting caught up in a hashtag or a Facebook comment thread, choose your charity wisely. Charities who sign up to become part of the GivingTuesday.org campaign must be 501(c)3 non-profits, but they’re focused on a wide variety of causes. Spend some time looking for some that feel personal and important to you. The website lists which charities are participating and provides more information on each one.

3. Watch out for imposters

It’s horrible to think that scammers are waiting in the wings to commit fraud with your well-intentioned donations, but they are. Check out any charity you’re considering supporting, and be careful about clicking links or responding to spoofed emailed requests that claim to be a part of Giving Tuesday.

Anyone can be a victim of identity theft, anyone can use our services, and anyone can help us help others. If you found this information useful, please consider donating to the Identity Theft Resource Center to help us keep our services free to the public.

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