Around the end of every year the pace of giving quickens. Many want to do good for those who may be struggling during the holidays while others are making sure to get in their charitable giving before we ring in another calendar year. That leaves 10 months of the year when ample energy isn’t given to giving. Rather during these months nonprofits and NGOs tend to experience the yearly down time in charitable contributions despite their best efforts to raise funds.
The Network for Good reported that in 2010 the average charitable gift was $142 in December versus an average of $91 for other parts of the year. Additionally, the Network for Good processes 30% of all donations during the month of December according to Charity Navigator’s Giving Facts. And since giving totals plummeted according to data from the Chronicle of Philanthropy during the recession, save for international affairs organizations, it might be more effective for those who serve to spread out the giving instead of relegating it to the last part of the year.
Why is so much of our giving clumped into December?
It is probably a combination of several factors. We are solicited more during the giving season by nonprofits and so therefore tend to give more. In July’s New Scientist Pamela Wiepeg, a philanthropy researcher said, “Most giving is done through some sort of social interaction. Eighty-five per cent of donations are made in response to a direct request — through a friend, on the doorstep, through a media appeal.”
Additionally, we are already hardwired to want to help others and most of us want to help people in need during the part of the year when giving, philanthropy, and caring are built-in sentiments of the season.
And finally, for those who give and can take deductions on their taxes, donations must be made by December 31 prompting a huge surge in giving right under the deadline.
I argue that giving should be a year-round event. It is something I will duly practice in 2013 because the needs of others are not clumped into the final two months of the year. This dawned on me when I read an interview with Mark Horvath of Invisible People on Fast Co.Exist. He said:
Homelessness is not a sexy cause unless it’s around Thanksgiving. It is the one time of year that people in America actually acknowledge that we have homelessness in our own communities. Most shelters have to turn away volunteers on Thanksgiving Day. Come January, March, or June, it’s nearly impossible to find committed volunteers. It seems that during the rest of the calendar year, society finds it easier to ignore the biggest social crisis that’s right here in our own country.
Most of us can take cues from the generosity of companies and foundations that either specifically commit to year-round giving or it is their mandate to do so. Target, for example, gives $3 million to charity every week, or 5% of its profits. They have been doing this since 1946; the dollar amount just keeps getting bigger. I would be remiss if I didn’t disclose that Target is the sponsor of Babble’s Holiday Toy Campaign. I’m not praising Target’s charitable giving because of that, of course, but because the proof is in the pudding and I have noticed their education efforts since my girls were really small. As a mom I have always been impressed by their commitment to education.
Luckily for the rest of us, we don’t have to be rich or be a part of a foundation to give regularly throughout the year, we simply must be committed to the effort.
Now, a moment to win toys from Target for your little one + help children or charities in need:
Do you know a deserving family, school, or charity this holiday season? We’re giving away one grand set of 20 toys from Target, including those mentioned in this post! To nominate, simply comment and tell us why you’ve selected them!
Babble is giving away one grand set of 20 toys from Target to a deserving family, school or charity. To nominate someone to win, please comment below and tell us why you’ve selected them!