Georgia's Own will be closed on Monday, January 20th in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
The Gift of Giving: 10 Ways To Be Charitable this Holiday Season
We all know the holidays are a time for giving. This year, why not celebrate the season by choosing a gift that really makes a difference?
Charitable gift-giving is one of the best ways to spread generosity, kindness, and good cheer this time of year. After all, it’s not the “getting” that’s important, it’s sharing our good fortune with friends and neighbors in need. Whether they’re here in our communities or around the world, everyone should know joy and hope this season.
Generosity is good for us. It’s said to raise levels of happiness and emotional well-being. It can also help make tax time a little less painful. As long as you itemize your deductions, a donation will help reduce your taxable income. If that’s your ultimate goal, however, be sure to consult with a tax advisor before you write a check.
Whether you make a donation for the tax benefit or because it warms your heart, there are lots of ways to be charitable. To help, we’ve rounded up a few ideas. Here are ten ways to give the gift of generosity this season:
Help when it’s needed most
The American Red Cross donors, volunteers, and employees work to prevent and relieve suffering during emergencies, collect life-saving blood, support America’s military families, and so much more! You can honor friends and family with a gift that helps those when they need it most.
Sponsor a family
Find an Adopt-A-Family program through the Salvation Army, local charities, religious organizations, or your workplace. If you feel like a family may be too big of a commitment to manage on your own, ask others to join the cause. The more people that participate, the greater joy your gift will bring.
Buy goods that do good
Consider buying from a retailer who donates a portion of their sales to a charity. For example, buy LUSH’s hand and body lotion, Charity Pot. You’ll be pleased to know that 100% of the price (minus the taxes) supports causes like human rights, animal protection, and environmental justice. Not only will your sister (mother, girlfriend, daughter) love her gift, she’ll appreciate the contribution to a cause that’s close to her heart. Here’s a list of companies and products that share the wealth with worthy causes and help make the world a better place.
Time is just as valuable
Charities are always willing to accept cash donations, but sometimes donating your time is even better. Consider volunteering at a soup kitchen. They need help with preparation, serving, cleanup, and whatever else it takes to feed those in need. Stock shelves at your local food pantry or help deliver meals on wheels. Sometimes a smiling face and a helping hand is worth more than money in the bank.
Donate your stocks or bonds
Donating a portion of your portfolio may get you a bigger bang for your buck. If a stock has increased in value since you bought it more than a year ago (and if you itemize deductions), you can take a charitable deduction for the stock’s fair market value on the day you donate it. You’ll also avoid capital-gains taxes on the appreciation. Check out the five things you should know about gifting stock here.
Gift your frequent flyer miles
Are you a frequent flyer? Maybe you’ve accumulated more than too many miles, or are in danger of losing miles that are getting ready to expire. Consider donating them to a charity like the Make-A-Wish® Foundation. Every mile you donate will help kids and their families travel to destinations around the world. It’s just one simple way you can help share the power of a wish.
Send care packages to our troops
Let our servicemen and women know they’re being remembered during the holidays by sending a care package. Treat the Troops and Any Soldier are organizations that coordinate ways to give to our deployed soldiers. It’s a great way to let them know how much we appreciate their service and their sacrifice.
Give a charity gift card
When you make a donation in someone else’s name, you’d like for it to be a charity that’s important to them. Now, you can honor them by donating to the cause they’re most passionate about. Give the gift of good at tisbest.org, and the recipient can choose from among 300 charities to allocate the money. It’s a win-win!
Buy gifts through Amazon Smile
Knock out that holiday list by shopping on the Amazon Smile website. You’ll find the same prices and products as Amazon.com, but they’ll donate 0.5% of the price to your favorite charity. It’s a simple way for you to support your favorite organization every time you shop.
Create a gift registry
If you don’t need another holiday tie or pair of slippers, create your own gift registry at MyRegistry.com. List your favorite charities and ask your family and friends to make a donation in your name. Not only is it a great way to support a cause, but it may also inspire some others to consider a charitable registry too.
There are many opportunities to donate to a charity or a cause that inspires you. It doesn’t need to be limited to the holidays, either. There are always people in need, so think about being generous throughout the year. When you donate goods, services, time, or talent, you not only impact others’ lives, you also bring more meaning to yours.
Georgia’s Own Gives Back and You Can, Too!
There are a number of reasons that people make charitable donations. Whether it’s to feed the hungry, provide shelter for the homeless, support cancer research, or to build a new church, it’s often a personal choice to support a cause that’s close to your heart. Others use charitable donations as part of a smart financial strategy that reduces their tax liability or helps to build a legacy they can leave behind.
The ROI on charitable giving
Whatever the reason, charities depend on your contributions to continue their mission. But, they also reward you with something in return. The act of donating, whether it’s money, time, or goods, improves your wellbeing—and that’s a proven fact! It reduces stress, improves your mood and self-worth, and can positively affect your mental health.
When you contribute to or volunteer with a local charity, it helps build community, gives you a sense of belonging, and serves as an example that encourages others to follow. It’s also incredibly fulfilling when you can see the direct results of your giving.
Invest in your community
Georgia’s Own understands how important it is to give back to the community. Our passion for serving extends beyond the financial products and services we offer, and we take great pride in working alongside local charities. Here are a few of the organizations we support and maybe some opportunities for you to consider, too!
Action Ministries is a nonprofit organization that helps Georgians break the cycle of poverty by meeting their basic needs of hunger relief, housing, and education. Georgia’s Own partners with Action Ministries on their Smart Lunch, Smart Kid initiative, which provides meals during the summer months for those children who live in food-insecure households. Without a school-sponsored free or reduced lunch program, and limited access to adequate food and nutrition, the children’s health and wellbeing are at greater risk.
We collect donations at each of our branch offices ($5 feeds a child lunch for 2 days!) and have held lunch-packing parties with our Georgia’s Own employees. We also regularly volunteer at their Women and Children’s Community Kitchen in midtown Atlanta and participate in their Feed the Hungry program. There are always opportunities for others in the community to get involved, so come join us!
Each year, Georgia’s Own donates the proceeds of their annual golf tournament to L.E.A.D., a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower at-risk, black males to lead and transform their city and live a life of significance.
L.E.A.D. works to create positive outcomes by leveraging the relationship between education, athletics, and service. To date, 100% of their participants, called Ambassadors, have graduated from high school and have enrolled in college, 92% of which have received college baseball scholarships. Love baseball or just have a passion for helping to drive change? Your monetary donation or volunteer time will be well spent with this organization!
Jesse’s House is an emergency and long-term shelter for adolescent girls who have suffered from abuse or delinquency. To date, over 550 girls have been welcomed into the shelter and protected from an unfit or unsafe environment. We recently held a luggage drive at our Cumming location to provide a new piece of luggage for every girl to use when she’s ready to leave Jesse’s House. So often they only arrive with the clothes on their backs or a few things in a trash bag, at best, and have nothing with which to start their new journey.
If you can lend a hand, they always have volunteer opportunities for general house maintenance, organizing fun outings, meal donations, and more. Consider serving as a mentor, teaching a life skill, or simply coming to spend some with the girls!
Read with Malcolm is a youth literacy initiative founded by Malcolm Mitchell of UGA Football and New England Patriots fame. The goal of his foundation is to transform the lives of young students through literacy.
By introducing book ownership to households where reading is not a high priority and working to improve literacy in schools, every child will have the opportunity to read. An astonishing 61% of families in the U.S. do not have access to age-appropriate books at home, despite the fact that a child’s success in school and later in life is greatly dependent on their ability to read and write. We have made several donations of books to the foundation and have had many of our employees volunteer at Malcolm’s ‘Reading Rallies’ around Atlanta.
Literacy is the foundation of all learning. Volunteer with this foundation, and you’ll have tons of opportunities to help prepare these students for a brighter and more successful future.