Five Charitable Strategies to Consider in 2019

If you’re like most Americans, you are gathering up last year’s receipts and putting the final touches on your tax return. This article will share Five Charitable Strategies to consider in 2019. Now is the perfect time to analyze your gifting strategy for 2018 and what you want to accomplish by the end of 2019. Having a plan on when and if you should open your wallet to charities in the coming year is imperative. Here are five Charitable strategies to consider:

Give Bigger Gifts Less Frequently

Americans who give money to their favorites causes each year definitely should pay attention to the taxation of gifts, how it affects their bottom line, and the benefits of the higher standard deduction passed by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. It is not only prudent to consider these aspects, it is essential to keep your eye on the law. You can bet the charities and Non-governmental agencies are watching closely and trying to figure out how to capitalize on the Act. The state of Colorado already jumped on the bandwagon. They smartly allow their taxpayers to give donations to day care centers under the Colorado Child Care Contribution Tax Credit. The bill allows the taxpayer to make a monetary contribution to promote child care in the state. He or she is then allowed an income tax credit equal to 50% of the total value of the contribution that can be deducted over several years; it has been so successful that the legislature extended the credit for another five years.

Use Technology to Spread Your Passion

More and more social media influencers are using crowd funding and peer to peer requests for money. According to http://www.Statista.com, crowd funding, the process of raising funds through the pooling of smaller donations and leaner resources, raised 17 Billion dollars in 2017. The process is driven by passion and emotion with hints of the American Dream. The pen is mighty when paired with the picture worth a thousand tears. As more companies jump on the circuit, more of us each year are using peer to peer, also known as person to person money exchanges with our friends and others on our smart phones. It is easy, fast, and reliable. Use Technology to Spread Your Passion

Give Close to Your Heart

Most of us want to make a difference in the world. If the budget is tight we might put it off. If you lack the dollars, give of your time. It all adds up. Big Donors, those considered uber-rich, give 30% of all charitable gifts. We are talking the likes of Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and Michael Bloomberg who sit in the top half of 1% of the income earners in the country. They fight for better and equal health care and exceptional higher education. While all of that is commendable, it may not be what you care about. What if you care about the Monarch Butterfly whose migration patterns are changing, or the Mustang horses that are overcrowded in parts of Arizona and New Mexico? Giving money is best given to those closest to your heart. If your grandfather fought in Viet Nam, Korea, or World War II, would you rather honor veterans, and give to Wounded Warriors or build a house with Habitat for Humanity. The point is, you will feel better about the gift if you have passion for the cause.

Use Your Social Conscious as Guide

Social investing has been around a long time yet it is the young adult who has really brought to the forefront the social consciousness in retail, pushing the process of marrying it with our charitable intentions too. A simple search on the internet brought over a quarter a million hits. Trends are heading toward companies who have a message of hope and inspiration to leave a positive footprint. On every Alp~n~Rock tag, a women’s ski clothing line, it is printed how the creator, Susanne Reich donates 10% of all her profits to Room to Read, a girls’ elementary through high school scholarship program in developing countries. She believes in giving the girls a lifelong gift of education. The moral of the story is to buy products from companies who support your causes.

Ask For Transparency 

Before you give, ask for details. Who is going to get the money and how much goes to administrative costs. We said to give from the heart, yet that does not mean you don’t do your research and ask the right questions. Know your charity. It is critical that most, if not all, of every dollar donated goes to its intended recipient, keeping costs to run the place down or by volunteers. The other day, an article stated how some big charities were seeing a decline in donations. Digging deeper, it could be because the one CEO in the clothing donation industry makes over $700,000 dollars a year when a competing CEO makes $13,000. Why would you want to fund a charity that pays their leader more than America pays ours? Who are they trying to serve? If a charity is hesitant to answer you, move on to the next one. They all need our money and our time.

Five Steps to Implement a Socially Responsible Marketing Plan

Cause Marketing hands in the air along with Socially responsible marketing plan

Why consumers crave social responsibility and pay attention to campaigns when buying goods.

Social media in the new era in is screaming for social responsibility. Let’s face it, “Cause marketing” is expected these days as consumers become more aware of making a difference in the world. Customers who visit your website are going to be on the lookout for your motivations to impact the community in small and large ways. They want to know exactly what it is that your company stands for. They are asking themselves if your company is making society and the universe as a whole, a better place. 

Where do we begin?

If you’re scratching your head, on where to begin, let’s shift gears and talk numbers. According to a survey, there have been dramatic increases in consumers who say they are willing to switch brands to a competitor who has a clear cause. Nearly 87% said they would change brands.  Niche markets are gaining momentum, notably the nation’s college students, who say they are less likely to ignore an ad that promotes a brand’s product if it is partnered with a social cause.

There is a correlation between giving back and entrepreneurship. The challenge is to find the right nonprofit group to plow your energies into to make a difference. Follow these five steps to get going on a mastering marketing plan that embraces the community and your business: 

Five Steps Master your Marketing Plan

Step 1: Choose a cause that matters to you

Whether you choose to support a group that trains service animals for those with disabilities or saving the monarch butterfly, choose a cause that makes your heart sing. Work with a cause that you believe in and one that you are willing to go to bat for giving both time and money to the efforts. When the cause warms your heart, you will work hard to make it happen for the group.

Step 2: Find a cause that is related.

The right affiliation to your cause-based marketing plan is essential to the success of your program. Take for example, TOMS shoes. From the start, they promised to give away a pair of shoes for every pair purchased. Today, the majority of the branding is about their mission for expanding their influence on social change, advocating for education, safe water, and gun violence. The company put muscle behind passing a bipartisan bill for universal background checks sending 730,000 postcards to Congress. The bill, HR8 recently passed in the house.  Their website has the tag line, “With every TOMS purchase, you stand with us on issues that matter.” Much of their success has ridden on the cause platform

Step 3: Give more than money.

There is only so much time in the day, but giving some of it to your social causes makes all the difference in your mission. Sure writing a check helps. What really makes a change is when the company pulls together and works projects together as a group out in the community. It might be serving a meal on Thanksgiving to the homeless or putting together backpacks for disadvantaged children. A yogi at a local studio put together bags with socks, mittens and hats for the homeless after he found his own drug-addicted mother on the streets of Denver. Do something that makes you grateful for your circumstances. Volunteer, offer your professional services, or bake goods. Every little action leads to large and greater actions. Pay if forward with your time.

Step 4: Make it formal.

To make your affiliation with your cause viable, make it formal. Write up a plan for defining your mission in helping and raising awareness for your cause. Put together a marketing campaign using your company logo with the charity or causes mission including press releases and on the organizations marketing materials and website. Cohesion and implementation are essential to the success of the program.

Step 5: Stay with it.

Motivating an audience to buy into your marketing plan and engage in your cause can feel daunting at first. It takes work and commitment. It does not happen overnight. If you use a dedicated marketing calendar, choose the right target market, and the right cause you will begin to find traction. Take for instance AARP Foundation, a charitable affiliate of the group that services the elderly 50+ in America. The foundation has worked diligently to expand their works to ensure that low-income and vulnerable adults have access to nutritious food, affordable housing and strong social bonds while addressing stead income needs. They began with formative research to find which key audiences really needed their help. Awareness and familiarity with AARP and its mission increased 10% in the first three years. The proof is in the pudding…consistency matter.

Understanding Generational Donation Gaps

GenerationalGap Influence the Cause

Generational Donation Gaps

Most everyone is familiar with the term, or idea, of “generation gaps” which are technically defined as differences in philosophies between generations.  Most generations are named for the time period or global event they were born during or after, as demonstrated by the most popular group, the Baby Boomers.  Born after World War II, the Baby Boomer generation was named because of the high number of new births recorded nine months or so after the soldiers returned from the World War.  Baby Boomers were raised by parents who grew up during the Great Depression and who endured the second World War, and were likely to have been impacted by both, thereby developing more traditional values.  By comparison, Millenials (children born in the 1990’s) are children who were born into a technological explosion within society, and as a result have been termed the most self-absorbed generation. 

Generational Clashes

Generational gaps occur when different generations must, whether by choice or not, interact with one another, and – no surprise – clash.  Take, for example, something as simple as music.  Music has always evolved as its generational influences, as Ragtime was hugely popular in the 1920’s, Swing in the 1930’s, Jazz & Big Band in the 40’s, and then came the Rock n Roll generation in the 50’s.  Beatlemania was an utter phenomenon in the 60’s, then artists such as Prince, Michael Jackson and Madonna became iconic in the 90’s.  Suffice it to say, an “old timer” born in the 1940’s would likely not “appreciate” the artistic prowess of Eminem.

Generations simply understand and do things completely different.  Certainly some of the differences may come from various cultural norms, but those differences are there.  And they affect how each individual reacts to the world around him or her. Understanding generational donation gaps it is important to understand the values of the different generations, as each will respond differently to requests for donations.   Let’s look at each of today’s generations, and see if each may give us a better understanding of how to approach fundraising. 

Matures (Born before 1945)

68 years or older, these are our elders, our ‘oldie but goodie’ generation, also referred to as the “Greatest Generation.”  Most will be retired, or semi-retired,  and can be a solid part of a fundraising community (making up about 26%), and because they may have extra free time available, can oftentimes assist in many forms of fundraising.   Traditionally they may make smaller donations if they are living on a limited income and tend to use ‘snail mail’ for communication.  However, online activity and contributions have been increasing, as they are being taught to use E-mail and the Internet by their children or grandchildren.  Matures are old school, their inclinations are to support religious and spiritual causes, volunteering their time to the same.

Baby Boomers (1946 to 1964)

The Baby Boomers make up the largest donation base (41% – 46%) for fundraising as a whole.  My parents’ generation, most have well-established careers, financial portfolios and may be close to retirement.  Donation patterns are very similar to those their parents choose, the majority going to religious and spiritual causes.  Understanding generational donation Gaps with Baby Boomers who do their homework and want to know more about the non-profits finances before they donate.  Statistics also show that Boomers tend to donate online and will actively enroll in monthly giving programs.  Therefore, it may be advantageous to ask them for a recurring donation.

also show that Boomers tend to donate online and will actively enroll in monthly giving programs.  Therefore, it may be advantageous to ask them for a recurring donation.

Generation X  (1965 to 1980)

With skepticism, because I’m not sure how I got this far, I have to say I’m part of Generation X.  “We” Gen X’ers are a vivacious cross section of individuals who consist of the third largest demographic of donors.  Gen X’ers are motivated somewhat by what their parents donate to, but tend to develop more passion in their choices for donating.  Thus, more giving to health services, animal rights & welfare and environmental causes.  In terms of fundraising efforts, focusing on the cause, and the reason for your cause, will likely be most beneficial to you.

Millennials (Generation Y) (1981 to 1995)

Understanding generational donation Gaps with the ‘Me’ Generation, commonly labeled as the most self-absorbed generation and even, on extreme accounts, a smidgeon narcissistic.  OK, folks.  Stop.  Take a breath.  Before the Millenials reading this start slamming me for having the audacity to say that, let me say this – I READ IT.  I don’t necessarily believe it!  I’m just writing it because this is what others think, and because it does bear consideration.  Let me clarify.  Generation Y has a great deal to contribute to any cause.  These folks represent the penultimate in terms of savvy techies –    they have grown up in a world with the explosion of technology, and their world revolves around Social Media, connectivity, and instant communication.  They may not have a well-established financial base as do earlier generations, but are very liberal in passionately giving of their time.   A prime example comes in terms of a natural disaster, where Millenials are likely to be first on scene to assist with whatever help might be necessary.  They are passionate in living a carefree lifestyle, but most are quick to respond to times or causes in need of assistance. Millennials should be embraced, they have their own style, certainly to be considered as a tremendously valuable resource to the world of non-profit sector. 

Generation Z  (1996 to Present)

Theoretically, we could term this group as the ‘next generation.’  Because they are so young, however, there isn’t much data available to offer much discussion or comparison to other generations.  Much like Millennials, they have a tremendous grasp of technology, and all of what it encompasses.  They do not have large bank accounts, and if they have chosen to pursue a college education may be weighed down by Student Loan debt.   However, they make up a vast majority of customer ratio, want to volunteer, change the world (of course), most want to make our planet ‘green’ and even have thought about starting their own charity.   

Generational gaps should be recognized and embraced, as it is clear that everyone can contribute in their own way.