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The end of the year is a special time to gather with family, reunite with friends and remember the many blessings of the prior months. It also is a time for the more than 400 nonprofits in Hardin County to request your help in volunteering and fundraising.
November and December are the biggest two months for most nonprofits. It is a time when your mailbox will be flooded with annual mailings, the media will be full of inspirational messages and your phone may even ring with a year-end request. It also is a good time for donors to investigate and plan for another year of giving with some easy steps.
Start by making a plan and making donations a part of your budget. This will be relative to your wealth and may be based on your emotions or finances.
We have a plan and budget for our purchases, why not have a plan and budget for your donations? Most families and small businesses can’t make a gift to every school, church or other important organization that makes a request. If they do, the gift often becomes diluted and more of a way to get rid of the person requesting rather than an opportunity to help the community.
Let’s face it, we all purchase wrapping paper, fruit, cookies and chocolate bars from that cute kid down the street but don’t have any idea about the purpose of the gift. Making a plan and narrowing your focus makes more of an impact and is less stressful at the end of the year.
Post your plan on the refrigerator and let others requesting know your plan is to help a local elementary school, church or other charity – most organizations understand and will look forward to visiting you another year.
Keeping your focus to about three is important to making a difference. As a side note, I always set a few dollars aside to purchase those awesome cookies.
What do you want to accomplish? Donors need to ask themselves this simple question before they make a pledge, write a check or give online.
This can be a good time to include the entire family as a way to teach good stewardship, show responsible giving and learn more about the problems in our community. Have a family meeting to discuss what you want to accomplish or how you want to change a life then talk about your financial limitations before moving forward.
I also encourage families to volunteer before giving. This is a good family activity that not only provides you with a sense of the organization but also the challenges they may face. In the end, if you know what you want to accomplish, your hard-earned money and valuable time can make a big difference in the life of a local family.
Whether you donate regularly or just at the end of the year, the biggest thing you can be year-round is a champion for a local nonprofit. Look for an efficient charity with an experienced track record then find ways to help cheer them on. Planting the seeds of inspiration, writing a check and leading by example can go a long way in making sure your charitable organization continues on a strong path.
No matter what you want your gift to accomplish or how you make your plan, make sure it includes your family. You will enjoy the experience even more when you can sit down with your children and talk about how your gift of time, treasure or talent changed a life ... and changing a life is what it is all about.
Don Fulford is executive director of Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland. He can be reached at (270) 769-6997 or email@example.com.