Millennial Money: Sustain generosity beyond the holidays

Nov 29, 2021, 2:00 PM | Updated: Nov 30, 2021, 7:43 am

2020 asked a lot from us. We faced new challenges and reckoned with old ones, and often the world’s problems collided with our own individual needs. Help — whether in donations or even just attention — might’ve been hard to give when you required some yourself.

If your finances are in better shape this giving season, you can be more strategic with your dollars. The same issues you felt strongly about last year may not be on your priority list now. Perhaps the reverse is true — you’re more determined than ever to support the causes you care about.

Here are tips on prioritizing causes, supporting them effectively and making room in your wallet for sustained giving.

YOUR PRIORITIES CAN SHAPE YOUR PLAN

Write down the two or three causes that matter most to you, whether it’s a global issue like slowing down climate change or something closer to home, like supporting your local animal shelter. This is the start of your giving plan. If you’re anything like me, a giving plan may serve as a guidepost for your dollars when tragic news events clamor for your attention or injured puppy photos on your social media feed play on your emotions. I end up making impulsive donations, which are helpful and feel good at the moment, but they’re easy to forget and don’t make a lasting impact.

You might also go bigger and really focus on your values in the giving plan, using them as fuel to be more intentional and proactive with your efforts beyond the holidays.

Think about the kind of philanthropist you want to be in 2022 and then plan for it, says Holly Belkot, manager of strategic giving at GlobalGiving, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., that supports other nonprofits by connecting them to donors and companies.

Planning doesn’t just apply to monetary donations or time spent volunteering. Say you care about climate change. Belkot suggests setting yourself a goal of learning something new about the effects of environmental damage in January, watching a documentary about deforestation in February and so on.

A SMALL, REGULAR DONATION CAN MAKE A BIG IMPACT

One powerful way to champion your favorite cause is through small, recurring donations.

“Recurring donations are the lifeblood of nonprofits,” says Soraya Alexander, chief operating officer at Classy, a digital fundraising platform for nonprofits based in San Diego, California. Alexander says the majority of one-time donors do not come back to support a nonprofit, and it’s a resource-intensive process for the organization to find new ones.

For millennials, she says, who are both passionate about sustained giving and already used to Netflix-style subscription payments, recurring donations are an easy way to make a big impact. “Ten dollars a month is going to have higher payoff for the organization and should make it easier for you to give a greater amount than you might normally feel comfortable with.”

Just as a monthly budget allows you to plan your spending, these donations allow nonprofits to plan operations for the year. Since many organizations automatically sign up regular donors to receive newsletters or project updates, recurring donations also allow you to stay engaged with the group.

HOW TO CHOOSE WHICH ORGANIZATION TO SUPPORT

You’ve got your giving plan in hand and know the importance of recurring donations. Now how do you actually choose where to send your money?

“It can be really overwhelming when you care about something but you don’t know what the ‘right’ nonprofit is to support,” Belkot says.

To solve this conundrum, GlobalGiving selects a handful of nonprofits working on the same issue and groups them together into a “fund” that individuals can donate to. Examples include a Girl Fund, aimed at improving the lives of girls around the world, or a Climate Action Fund. Donations are divided equally among the nonprofits, she says.

Another way to stay engaged and support causes you care about is through socially responsible investing, where you back companies making an impact on your chosen issue.

Technology can also play a role in helping you decide where to donate, says Wale Mafolasire, CEO of Givelify, a mobile app that facilitates donations to churches and nonprofits, based in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Givelify’s approach is similar to GlobalGiving’s funds. The company uses artificial intelligence to group nonprofit organizations into causes within the app, says Mafolasire. Givelify also highlights “trending causes” for users to choose from.

Resources like Charity Navigator, Candid (formerly GuideStar) and your local Community Foundation website also are good ways to vet nonprofits and pick ones that resonate with you.

Don’t overthink it and stress yourself out looking for the “right” organization, Alexander says. “Don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good. Your dollars will do good.”

_______________________________

This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance site NerdWallet. Amrita Jayakumar is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @ajbombay.

RELATED LINK:

NerdWallet: How to build a budget https://bit.ly/nerdwallet-how-to-budget-money

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Members of Ukraine's Territorial Defense Forces, volunteer military units of the Armed Forces, trai...
Associated Press

Russia rejects UK claim of trying to replace Ukraine leader

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday rejected a British claim that Russia was seeking to replace Ukraine’s government with a pro-Moscow administration, and that former Ukrainian lawmaker Yevheniy Murayev was being considered as a potential candidate. Britain’s Foreign Office on Saturday also named several other Ukrainian politicians it said had links with Russian […]
1 day ago
A villager, dressed in a traditional bear costume, celebrates the Malanka festival in the village o...
Associated Press

AP PHOTOS: Ukrainians observe pagan-rooted new year festival

KRASNOILSK, Ukraine (AP) — Dressed as goats, bears, oxen and cranes, many Ukrainians ring in the new year in the colorful rituals of the Malanka holiday. Malanka, which draws on pagan folk tales, marks the new year according to the Julian calendar, meaning it falls on Jan. 13-14. In the festivities, celebrants go from house […]
1 day ago
A man repairs a 10-meter wooden row boat, built in the Nordic clinker boat tradition, at the Viking...
Associated Press

UNESCO lists Viking-era wooden sailboats on heritage list

ROSKILDE, Denmark (AP) — For thousands of years, wooden sailboats allowed the peoples of Northern Europe to spread trade, influence and sometimes war across seas and continents. In December, the U.N.’s culture agency added Nordic “clinker boats” to its list of traditions that represent the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and […]
1 day ago
Migrants gather near the Hungarian border, outside of the village of Martonosh, Serbia, Thursday, J...
Associated Press

Migrants at Hungary border become part of election campaign

MAJDAN, Serbia (AP) — A group of migrants huddles beside a small, smoky fire inside an abandoned building in northern Serbia, the last moments of warmth before they set out into the driving snow toward the razor wire, cameras and sensors of Hungary’s electrified border fence. A few hours later, they return, their efforts to […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Today in History

Today in History Today is Sunday, Jan. 23, the 23rd day of 2022. There are 342 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Jan. 23, 2020, Chinese state media said the city of Wuhan would be shutting down outbound flights and trains, trying to halt the spread of a new virus that […]
1 day ago
Aleena Mir, a journalist with Kashmir Walla, records the news bulletin inside a studio of her offic...
Associated Press

In Kashmir, India batters press freedom — and journalists

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — For five years, Sajad Gul wrote about conflict wracking his homeland, a disputed Himalayan territory where a violent armed rebellion and India’s brutal counterinsurgency have raged for over three decades. That changed on a snowy Wednesday night in January with a knock at his house. Gul was surrounded by Indian soldiers […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
Millennial Money: Sustain generosity beyond the holidays