1. Religion & Spirituality
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

How to Maximize Charitable Giving in a Receding Economy


Maximize Charitable Giving
Photo: Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

Tips to Maximize Your Giving Dollars When Money is Tight

When the economy is declining and budgets are tightening, even the most generous donors tend to trim back on their charitable giving. More than ever, it's important to choose wisely by giving only to trustworthy and reliable charities. Here are a few simple tips to help maximize your donations and make the most impact with your charitable giving during this holiday season:
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: You Decide

Here's How:

  1. Know Your Charity

    The most important step in giving responsibly is to get to know the organization you plan to support. Giving to a local charity directly associated with your church or school will ensure better stewardship. You can actually see how the funds are being spent. Otherwise, you should get to know the charity through careful research. By using a charity evaluator such as Charity Navigator, you can give confidently even when you're not personally acquainted with the foundation.

  2. Give to Needy Families

    While saving the planet is important and protecting animal rights is certainly a worthy cause, the most meaningful gifts during the Christmas season, especially during an economic crisis, are best directed toward people and families in need. Consider brightening an otherwise dreary holiday by giving to a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter, or perhaps by helping the family of an inmate or a sick child. These kinds of opportunities are endless. If you need suggestions, here are my Top Christmas Charity Projects.

  3. Shop Philanthropically

    This may sound painful if you don't understand what it means, but actually, you can stretch your gift-giving dollars by purchasing Christmas gifts directly from your favorite charities. Not only will your money help support trustworthy charitable organizations, you'll double your dollars by crossing off items on your Christmas shopping list. Here are a couple of high-rated charities that offer opportunities for philanthropic shopping:

  4. Eliminate the Middle Man

    If your local place of worship supports one or more charities, you can donate straight through the church and know that your contributions will be properly recorded for tax purposes. Otherwise, the best way to give to a charity is directly. Organizations receive the most benefit from online contributions because this method eliminates administrative costs. Online donations also provide you with an instant tax record.


  1. "It is more blessed to give than to receive." - Acts 20:35 (NIV)
  2. "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38 (NIV)
  3. "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV)
  4. Find out more on what the Bible says about giving.
  5. Get more charitable giving advice by checking out this handy Holiday Giving Guide from Charity Navigator.

What You Need

  • Compassion
  • Generosity
  • Just a Little Time

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.