Making the Most of Your Charitable Giving

A helpful guide on giving more, while spending less.

By Navy Federal November 28, 2016

If you're interested in helping people and organizations in need during the holiday season but are unable to give as much as you'd like, here are ways you can help without breaking the bank.

Donate to Cost-Efficient Charities

Unfortunately, not all charities are created equal. Some organizations dedicate a substantial amount of money to "administrative" or "consulting" fees at the expense of properly funding their charitable work. To be sure you're donating to a charity that will use your money responsibly, research potential choices on watchdog websites like GuideStar, Charity Navigator or the Better Business Bureau.

Shop With Charity-Oriented Retailers

If you're already doing some holiday shopping, why not shop with a retailer that donates a percentage of its sales to charity? It's a way to give at no additional cost to you. One example is Amazon, which donates 0.5 percent of each purchase to a charity of your choice when you shop through its Amazon Smile portal. It doesn't actually cost you anything, but shopping at retailers that contribute in this way is a great way to supplement your other charitable habits. You may also consider purchasing from companies that follow a "one-for-one" business model by making charitable giving a fundamental part of their overall mission. For example, TOMS donates a pair of shoes to a child in need every time it sells a pair.

Contribute Your Talents Pro Bono*

Don't have the cash but have time to spare? You can offer your services on a pro bono basis to a charity that may not be able to afford them. Typically, pro bono work is associated with legal counsel, but many charities are in need of other services as well. So if you're a web designer, carpenter or marketing guru, or if you have any skill that could help a charity, don't hesitate to offer your help.

Get Contributions Matched by Your Employer

Does your employer match employees' charitable donations? It's a simple way to boost the power of each donation you make. It's a win-win-win situation: you're incentivized to donate more to get a bigger match from your workplace, your workplace benefits from tax deductions and goodwill, and the charity receives a larger donation than it otherwise would have.

Give the Gift of Charity

We all have hard-to-shop-for people in our lives. Luckily, charitable donations can be the perfect gift. Making a donation to a cause they care about, in their name, can make a great gift that won't end up simply gathering dust. And, if you aren't sure what charity your gift recipient would prefer, you can purchase gift cards that let him or her choose the organization.

Looking for another way to be philanthropic? Take advantage of your Navy Federal Credit Card's rewards program and use the rewards to fuel future donations. Whether it's using cash back for monetary donations or exchanging points for merchandise or gift cards you plan to donate, you can continue to give throughout the year. Learn more about Navy Federal's rewards program.

*Pro bono is a Latin phrase that means professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment.

This article is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.