Don't be a Scrooge

Via Unsplash. 

Financial donation is a great way to give back, especially during a season of gift giving and receiving. In fact, 30 percent of all annual donations in the U.S. are made in December alone. 

Many people are not only caught up in the holiday season but also use the end of the year to take advantage of tax benefits that are associated with philanthropy. While holiday donations are wonderful, supporting reputable charities year-round is even better. 

Charities typically receive a huge influx of money around the holidays, which is beneficial in keeping the charities going, but these charities need support year-round. Reputable charities often struggle halfway through the year because of the lack of financial giving. 

A huge part of charitable giving is finding and consistently giving to a reputable charity. You can check out a charity’s reputation with the Better Business Bureau and the IRS 501(c)3 organizations database to make sure it is a real charity, while Charity Navigator can be used to verify the ethics of specific charities. 

Another way to support charities year-round is to donate more than just money. Donating your time and labor, especially to small local charities can make a world of difference to your local communities. Many SIUE clubs and organizations have created strong relationships with local charities and work to help these charities year-round, but the best way to support and uplift communities is to donate time, money and labor consistently, not just once or twice, or just during the holiday season. Don't forget blood donation. Oddly, regular blood donors tend to forget to donate around the holidays, and winter is often a time blood banks need more donations. It doesn't cost you a thing, and you can literally save a life. 

Another reason to donate year-round is financial stability. The holidays are often stressful for many people, trying to create the best experience for their families and celebrate the holidays in the best way, but another reason to donate year-round is that donating both money and time has proved mental and physical health benefits. Social connection is immensely beneficial for mental health, and having a regular routine of giving, especially of labor, can be great for physical health as well. 

This holiday season, find a charity to support, a reputable charity working to improve something you are passionate about, make a donation and then create a plan to donate throughout the year. Find a charity in Edwardsville or your hometown to volunteer at regularly, and support your community year-round. 

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