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Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Charity Overload?

Christmastime tends to be the season when charities begin aggressively pleading for help. Toys for Tots, Operation Christmas Child, local church giving trees, and many other organizations have amped up their outreach efforts specifically for the Holidays. Not only is Christmas considered to be a "giving" time of year, but this strategy also encourages Americans to submit end-of-year tax write-offs. It makes sense for charities to compete for donations during this time, but does it place undue pressure on the consumer?

By no means am I advocating for people to eliminate their support for non-profits. Jesus commands that we take care of widows and orphans (James 1:27) as well as those less fortunate than ourselves (Proverbs 14:31). As Christians, we should be the first ones willing to show our compassion to believers and unbelievers alike, by donating our time, money and goods to advance the cause of Christ.

But you can still feel overwhelemd with the abundance of Christmas charity programs and oftentimes, guilt-ridden when you realize it is impossible to partipate in all of them. Here are some donation tips that will make your Holidays less-stressful and your gift-giving more enjoyable.

1. Choose one or two charities that match your interests and ideals and give only to them. It is more advantageous for the charity to receive a larger donation than for you to diversify yourself over a variety of organizations. This also puts less pressure on yourself so you can say "no" when approached about supporting another cause.

2. Decide to give earlier in the year rather than around the Holidays. Because most gift-giving occurs at Christmastime, many charities experience a "drought" the rest of the year. Choosing to give during a different season helps even out the load for non-profits, and relieves stress during the busiest time of year for yourself. It also lessons the burden of overextended budgets because you are not buying Christmas presents and donating to charities at the same time.

3. Maybe you are not big on giving to organizations other than your church, but you know someone who is. Charity Choice Gift Cards can be a perfect option and makes Christmas shopping that much easier! You choose the amount you want to place on the card, and the recipient can choose from over one hundred charities to redeem the card. Now you know what to get that person that is so difficult to buy for. :)

No matter how much or how little you give to anyone, remember that it should not feel like an obligation. The best gifts are the ones given straight from the heart. Have fun making Christmas happen for others!


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