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How To Make The Most of Your Financial Donations

This month, many of the posts you have seen here have been focused on making a difference. First, we had a post on giving back when you have little to give and then Kimberly Palmer discussed how we can be deliberate givers with our incomes in the networking challenge #2 interview.  Today, Christina Inge, a marketer and volunteer at multiple organizations and charities, is going to share with us how we can make the most of our donations.

When you’re strapped for time, we’ve looked at ways for time- and cash-strapped women to give time and help to nonprofits. What about donating cash, though? How can a relatively cash-strapped gal make the most of not just time she has to give, but also the funds?
There are a lot of simple ways, and they’re growing. The key is to look for ways to integrate supporting causes with your daily needs, like work, groceries, and commuting.

Shop for a Cause

One of the easier ways to donate without really trying is to shop for a cause. Everything from cereal to shoes now have a cause marketing element, and it’s helping consumers to make small donations by choosing everyday products.
One of the most concrete shop-for-a-cause efforts out there is Tom’s Shoes—for every pair bought, the company donates a pair to a child in need.
Breast cancer causes have perhaps the largest following among products, with diabetes and heart disease attracting strong support, too. Sometimes, there’s a clear connection between the product and the cause, such as pet stores donating to animal shelters, while other times, the affinity is more in the target demographic of the cause and the product, as is the case with Danon. Either way, regardless of what you buy and what your fave causes are, there’s a way now to shop for it. The key when shopping for a cause?
  • It’s fine to switch brands based on cause support, but to save your pocketbook, make sure you get products you’re going to use. Otherwise, donating the amount you’d spend on the product is better for the bottom line—the nonprofits’ and yours.
  • Look on the company’s website or even call to find out how much is going to the organization, whether a minimum will be donated regardless of total sales, and what orgs are getting funds. Make sure you like the exact org, and whether the cause marketing effort is for awareness only, or a specific program.
  • See if you can pay it forward by donating the cause marketing purchases to another org in need for double impact. Purchase groceries that support heart disease prevention, for instance, to donate to food banks.

Ask Your Employer About Organizations They Support

Early-career women often overlook one of the best ways to extend your charitable dollars: employer matching contributions. Nearly every large employer and many small ones will match dollar for dollar what you give.
Keep in mind a caveat: your charity must be on an approved list. You can get flexibility, and give to a cause not on the list, but you’ll have to make the case. Get the list from HR, and make sure you get those matching funds.

[Related Post: Nonprofit Jobs: How to Make Your Career Meaningful]

Wrap Causes Around Daily Activities

You can also commute for a cause, thanks to Boston-based tech startup MamboWalk. The mobile and web app allows you to log your miles, much in the way of other fitness apps. What’s different, though, is that lets you turn your daily commute or job into a walkathon by getting friends to “sponsor” you by the mile. B
anking is another daily activity you can turn to your cause; for instance, ablebanking donates an amount equal to 0.25% of a customer’s deposits to the cause of her choice.
Doing something creative? Set up a project on Kickstarter to raise funds through your art, music, or performance project for a cause you love. There’s a dozen ways to add fundraising and donating to a cause to your daily activities—all doubling or tripling your single donation. With so much support, you can really make a big impact even with a small wallet.

How do you make the most of your donations?

Note: This post was written in association with ableBanking.  ableBanking is an online-only savings program that gives better rates, no fees – and one more thing: money to give to any charity you choose. For every new customer, ableBanking gives $25 to any 501c3 organization a customer designates, as well as an additional percentage of savings, on each account, every year. 

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