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Tip of the Week

Stress Less. Give More.

Many people have the desire to do something meaningful this holiday season, and traditional gift giving is just not cutting it. While we want our friends and loved ones to know they are appreciated, excessive consumer spending during the season leaves many people feeling empty and in debt. Many folks are opting instead, to give to causes close to their heart--to stress less on gifts and give more to helping others.

#GivingTuesday is about community. After the frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this national movement is a call to action to celebrate giving and encourage more, better, and smarter giving during the Holiday Season.

Here are a few tips from Charity Navigator, if you do decide to give more this holiday season:

  • Be Proactive In Your Giving. Smart givers generally don't give in a knee-jerk fashion. They don't respond to the first organization that appeals for help. They take the time to identify which causes are most important to their families and they are specific about the change they want to affect.
  • Hang Up The Phone / Eliminate The Middleman. Informed donors recognize that for-profit fundraisers, those often used in charitable telemarketing campaigns, keep a large portion (in some cases all) of each dollar they collect. Wise donors never give out their personal information – like credit card accounts, social security numbers – over the phone. They investigate before giving
  • Be Careful Of Sound-Alike Names. Uninformed donors are easily confused by charities that have strikingly similar names to others. How many of us could tell the difference between an appeal from the Children's Charity Fund and the Children's Defense Fund? Their names sound the same, but their performances are vastly different.
  • Confirm 501(c) (3) Status. Wise donors don't drop money into canisters at the checkout counter or hand over cash to solicitors outside the supermarket. Smart givers only support groups granted tax-exempt status under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Concentrate Your Giving. When it comes to financial investments, diversification is the key to reducing risk. The opposite is true for philanthropic investments. If you've really taken the time to identify a well-run charity that is engaged in a cause that you are passionate about, you should then feel confident in giving it a donation.
  • Share Your Intentions And Make A Long-Term Commitment. Smart donors support their favorite charities for the long haul. They see themselves as a partner in the charity's efforts to bring about change. They know that only with long-term, committed supporters can a charity be successful.

Wherever you decide to direct your money this holiday season, makes sure you prioritize it in a way that makes you feel grateful, on budget, and happy. Stress less this holiday.

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Montana Credit Unions for Community Development (or MCUCD) is the award-winning, charitable arm of the Montana Credit Union Network. A state-wide nonprofit organization, MCUCD works together with the state's credit unions to improve the lives and financial independence of all Montanans.