“Everyone can experience the joy and blessing of generosity; because everyone has something to give.”
– Jan Grace
For many of us the festive season is a joyous time of hanging up decorations, wrapping presents and spending time with loved ones. For others it can be one of the hardest times of the year.
So, amongst all the festive preparations, there are many ways you can make an impact and spread the joy this festive season to make a difference to the lives of others.
In fact, there are so many ways to help and so many wonderful causes, it can be easy to feel a little overwhelmed. Here are some ways you can help and a few things to keep in mind to maximise the outcome of your generosity.
Plan your giving
Just as you might make your festive shopping a little easier by making a list of what you are buying, it’s helpful to approach your gifting to others in the same way and make a plan.
It’s important to consider what cause (or causes) you want to contribute to.
Then evaluate how much you are comfortable contributing. Don’t just think about a cash donation – you can also donate goods, your time, or your expertise to worthwhile causes.
Selecting a recipient for your gift
When selecting worthy causes, it can be helpful to think about your interests and passions. Whether it’s protecting our environment, diversity and inclusion, supporting important medical research, overseas aid organisations, or those doing it tough in your local community, there is a lot to select from.
Find an organisation that aligns with your values, both in the cause it supports and the way it supports that cause. It’s worth confirming the status of the charity you are considering donating to as there are scams out there. Try Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission or for overseas charities, charitynavigator.org.
You can claim a tax deduction for donations of $2 or more, as long as these donations are made to an organisation that has been endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as a deductible gift recipient (DGR) so it’s worthwhile checking the DGR status of your selected charity – and keeping receipts for tax time.
Not just cash
If you would prefer to donate items rather than cash, the festive season offers lots of opportunities. Many department stores and supermarkets have food drives where you can purchase items to be distributed to those in need. You could consider inviting your family, friends, and neighbours to join you in donating non-perishable food items to a charity in your area – just make sure the goods you are donating are not expired or damaged.
If Christmas to you means happy memories of children’s smiles as they unwrap presents, it can be very satisfying to donate to a toy drive, either by donating gently used toys or purchasing new ones to be distributed to those who would otherwise be going without this Christmas.
If you’d like to help a furry friend over the festive season, you can donate pet food, treats, toys, collars, leashes, clean bedding, and other supplies to a local animal shelter or animal rescue group to help unhoused animals. You could even think about adopting a pet and adding a new member to your household this festive season.
Or you could also consider giving the gift of your time to a worthwhile cause.
Spend time to help others
Many charities need a little extra help during the festivities, and they rely on a legion of volunteers to help. If you aren’t in a position to make a financial contribution this year, consider volunteering your time and expertise if you have any special skills that would benefit a charitable organisation.
You may also consider giving the gift of life and donating blood or plasma. During the holiday season, donations of blood products tend to decrease due to more people travelling and being unable to donate so it’s the perfect time of year to donate if it’s not something you do regularly.
However you choose to spread joy and support others that are not so fortunate this festive season, know that you are making a difference to the lives of others.