Making the Most of Giving Tuesday

What is Giving Tuesday? Why do I need to make the most of it?

Giving Tuesday is a relatively new movement that has sprung up as a counterpoint to the retail frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Charities and their fundraising professionals have pushed Giving Tuesday as the marquee day of the year to solicit donations.

This means you can expect a substantial amount of outreach from charities on Giving Tuesday - including charities to which you’ve previously given, charities your friends are involved with, and schools you’ve attended.

If you’re charitably minded, this influx of solicitations can be hard to navigate. How do you know which ones to respond to? How can you understand the impact of a gift to an organization you don’t follow closely? How do you decide how much to give?

With these kinds of questions in mind, One for the World has developed this short guide to Giving Tuesday. We hope it helps you make the most of your giving.

Step 1: Decide on your giving goals

While the IRS treats all charities as the same, when you look at their goals, their philosophies, and their outcomes, it’s clear they’re not even close to the same. Since they’re so different, it’s important to recognise that gifts to different organizations can fulfill different goals.

For instance, you may give to a local education charity because you want to be connected to your neighbourhood. You may then give to a charity a colleague sits on the board of, to express your support for their work. You may give to your alma mater, because you want to support a new initiative their launching. And you may give to an organization like the Against Malaria Foundation because you want to improve as many lives as possible for the amount you donate.

We’d suggest it makes sense to think of giving goals in three main buckets (these are of course not necessarily mutually exclusive, but illustrative):

  • Maximizing Impact per Dollar: E.g. Supporting a highly effective, proven charity like the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative, or engaging in venture philanthropy aimed at the next generation of highly effective charities

  • Community Engagement and Affiliation: E.g. Local sports leagues or animal shelters, arts organizations or local educational charities

  • Professional and Personal Investment: E.g. Supporting a charity your boss supports, buying tickets to a charity gala that will be fun to attend, supporting friends running a marathon for charity, or donating to your alma mater with an eye to improving your child’s chance of admission

Step 2: Budget giving against your goals

Once your goals are clear, you can think about how you want to budget against them. For many OFTW members, the vast majority of your giving will likely be budgeted to the first bucket. But as young professionals and engaged community members, the other buckets can be important, too.

All One for the World members have pledged to give 1% of their income to highly effective charities that help the world’s poorest people. Giving Tuesday is a good opportunity to assess whether you can afford to grow your gift beyond that amount.

While the IRS treats all charitable giving as the same, it’s not the case that all charities are the same in either their impact or the reasons you might choose to support them. With budgets at the goal level, you can decide which budget a given charity should draw from, which also helps you size your gifts.

Step 3: Be proactive - use Giving Tuesday to help further your goals

With clear goals and budgets, use Giving Tuesday as a chance to assess how you’re progressing against those goals. Maybe you’ve budgeted 2% of your income to maximizing impact per dollar, but are only on track to hit 1.5% before the end of the year. That means it’s a good chance to give an extra one off gift.

If you are in control of your giving goals and budgets, there’s no reason you need to be confined to just responding to the organizations that solicit your donation on Giving Tuesday. And for those that you do want to respond to, knowing which goal they fall under, and what your budget is, will help you decide how much to give.

Giving Tuesday is also a good opportunity to reconfirm the effectiveness of the charities you’re supporting. The Life You Can Save has a great impact calculator you can use to see the impact of a donation to one of the highly effective charities they recommend. GiveWell.org, the best world’s best charity evaluator has a lot of resources, including this guide to the key questions they ask of the charities they support. In addition they have just updated their annual list of top charities in time for Giving Tuesday.

More generally, you should expect any charity that asks for your money to be able to tell you what it will be spent on, why they chose to spend it that way, and what evidence they have to show that is the best way to achieve their goals. With clearly defined goals, you can ask charities about how they stack up against your goals, and compare the answers you receive.

Finally, if you want to talk through some of these questions, reach out to someone in the One for the World Community. We would love to help you think through how to best define and achieve your giving goals.

Having clear goals and budgets also helps you communicate to charities, friends and colleagues about your giving. People are generally happier to receive a small gift and hear that you made room for their organization in your budget, than to just receive the smaller gift.

One for the World now offers convenient giving to 17 highly effective charities through The Life You Can Save

As we’ve previously announced, One for the World is now partnered with award winning philosopher Peter Singer’s effective altruism organization, The Life You Can Save. This means that when you log in to your One for the World account you can choose to give to any of the 17 highly effective organizations vetted by Peter Singer and the team at TLYCS, including all of GiveWell.org’s top charites. This includes the five existing charities in One for the World’s core portfolio.

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