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December 16, 2016

5 Tips for Holiday Giving

by contributor
Whether it’s public service, pro bono work, or donating directly, here are five things to consider while giving.
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Public service or pro bono work is one way to give back to your community. Another is to donate directly to an organization. During this holiday season and the approaching end of year, you may be looking for ways to help. Whether you are passionate about veteran’s issues, homelessness or children’s education, you can find an organization and a way to donate that you can feel great about. Charity Navigator is a quick online resource for finding a charity. Here are five things to consider while giving.

In-Kind Donations
Not comfortable giving financially? Try in-kind donations. You can usually find a list on the organization’s website of the items they need most. If you can’t find the list, email or call — they are more than happy to discuss how you can help. Please do not just drop off in-kind donations to the door of an organization. This costs them time and money if the items are not needed. Be aware that sometimes the best way to help is to provide gift cards or money.

Make a Donation While You Shop
Amazon will donate a portion of most purchases if you start at Amazon Smile and select an organization to benefit. There are other sites as well, such as that donates money for shopping through their apps, site or Button to shop at over 1,700 stores.

Matching Gift Programs
According to Charity Navigator, almost $5 billion is donated to U.S. charities each year from workplace giving. Many companies will match donations or facilitate automatic payroll deductions. Check in with your HR Department to see where and how you can give.

Donor Bill of Rights
You have the right to be informed of how the organization intends to utilize your donation and to specify how your donation is spent. If an organization refuses to give you this information, you may want to rethink your support. Many great organizations do not have a Donor Bill of Rights so a lack of one should not necessarily disqualify them from your donation.

Check Review Agencies
There are many ways to check if the organization is reputable and financially responsible. If you have doubts about an organization, check websites such as Guidestar and Charity Navigator that provide ratings based on financial information and other criteria. Charity Navigator also provides helpful tips to keep in mind when researching an organization and giving.

Did you know that the Washington State Bar Foundation provides support to WSBA’s Public Service (the Call to Duty Initiative and the Moderate Means Program) and Diversity Programs? To make a year-end donation, click here.

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