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Money Smart Giving

When you were growing up, your parents probably taught you about the value of money. You learned the value of saving, when it was okay to buy something you wanted and when you should wait. And when it comes to being charitable, there are also smart ways to distribute your money. The week of April 23 is Money Smart Week. What a great time to evaluate how adept you’ve been with your contributions. While helping out an organization is always a great feeling, there are ways to be smart about how you’re contributing. Here are some tips to consider next time you want to make a contribution to your favorite organization. And the best part, this advice is free. No need to give us a penny for these thoughts.

Company Support
If your company is looking to support a nonprofit in a big way, make sure you know how your significant contribution will help an organization. Start by conducting some background research on a few of your favorite organizations to understand the needs in your community. If you’re having a hard time narrowing it down, ask your employees and measure your company’s values against your top picks. Then, go in and talk to the leaders of the organizations you’re considering. The more involved you are with the nonprofit you’re helping out, the better you’ll feel about knowing where your money is going and how it will be distributed. You may want to consider setting up some volunteer opportunities for your staff while you’re at it so employees can feel connected to your cause.

Individual Giving
If you are looking to contribute monetarily to an organization on your own, be realistic about how much you can give. You can always start out with small contributions, and increase over time. Many nonprofits have payment plans for sustained giving opportunities. Remember that every contribution is going to help, and that nothing is too small. You could even try fundraising for an organization among friends to help make others aware of a great cause. But remember, there are also other great ways to be smart about contributing besides monetary contributions. Volunteering is always appreciated, and possibly more satisfying than a cash donation.

Teaching the Kids
It is important to teach children things that they need to know early on in life. The same is true for teaching them about giving. Have your kids come up with a list of things that they are passionate about. Don’t be afraid to educate them on important issues that you think might pertain to their interests. Then, explain to them how they can help. Maybe they want to donate a portion of their allowance to helping an organization each month. But who knows? You might spark something much bigger inside them, making them want to keep helping. You’ll be amazed at how driven some children can be. Help them think of creative ideas to fundraise and fuel the passion that they have established. And don’t forget to provide them with plenty of encouragement, because if they sky's the limit, there’s no telling how high they’ll go with their contributions.

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