The Best Gift You Can Give Yourself: A Fiscally Friendly Holiday Season

If you’ve sighed at the sight of Christmas decorations sitting cheek and jowl with Halloween décor, you’re not alone. The holiday “season” seems to begin in October and last a full three months.

The longer the season, the more time consumers have to spend on gifts. So it’s no surprise that holiday spending has been rising steadily since 2008. In 2017, Americans were expected to shell out $967.13 each for holiday gifts, according to the National Retail Federation. Nationwide, Americans were likely to spend between $678.75 billion and $682 billion, an increase of 3.6 to 4 percent over 2016, according to the National Retail Federation. (It hasn’t yet updated those estimates with actual numbers, but you get the idea: December is a big month for gifts and giving, regardless of your religion or your income.) (more…)

Tips for Wise Giving

  1. Find your passion and focus your giving. Think about two or three areas or
    causes you want to support and make this your philanthropic mission.  Not only
    will your gifts have more impact, but you will also find your giving more satisfying.
  2. Know your charity. Charities have an obligation to provide detailed information to interested donors.  Request written literature and a copy of the charity’s latest annual report which should include a list of the board of directors, a mission statement, and the most recent audited financial statements.

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The New Philanthropy

The term “philanthropist” tends to conjure images of society’s elite who bequeath a portion of their tremendous wealth to large institutions such as hospitals, universities, and museums. However, current trends in charitable giving indicate that a growing number of philanthropists are ordinary people who share an extraordinary desire to “give back” and to “make a difference.”

Instead of inherited assets, these new philanthropists are likely to bring their own earned income to their favorite causes and to give generously while still living. Another trend is to support human services and community based organizations rather than the larger, more prominent charities. In addition, this new generation of donors is demonstrating more personal involvement by also contributing their time, energy, and expertise. (more…)

Shop with a Social Purpose

By: Melanie Hamburger

shopping-give-backWhether you’re thinking ahead to Mother’s Day or graduation, or looking for that perfect gift for a friend, it’s easy to use your consumer dollars for social change.

Online Venders for Social Good

An easy way to give back is to shop for your favorite gifts on a website that gives back. (more…)

The Myth of Philanthropy

We hear inspiring stories of wealthy Americans who give back – through the Giving Pledge or interviews where they tell the background behind their generosity. We think: How nice. How different they are from us.

I’ll admit it. It bugs me that so much of what we hear about “philanthropy” is from those with tremendous wealth. But that makes sense, you say. They have the most to give.

Yet the statistics around giving tell a very different story. (more…)

The Psychology Of Giving

Although a number of studies have focused on the effect of income on happiness, Elizabeth Dunn, a social psychologist at the University of British Columbia, also wanted to understand the effect of spending choices on happiness.

For example, previous research clearly demonstrated that income has a predictably positive effect on level of happiness, but these levels remain flat over time even as income increased.  This finding puzzled Dunn and she wanted to find out why happiness did not increase along with income. (more…)