The time from Thanksgiving to the New Year often feels like it’s only five days instead of five weeks. We’re holiday shopping. We’re overeating. We’re attending parties, concerts, and plays. We’re hosting family and friends. We’re reflecting on the year that’s been and dreaming of the year ahead.
On top of all that, we’re also trying to make sure we give thanks for what we have and take time to help others. Along that vein, conversations can turn to making a year-end gift to help your tax burden. But since the tax laws changed and the standard deductions increased in 2018 ($12,000 if filing single and $24,000 if married filing jointly), more Americans are claiming the standard deduction than in years past.
That simply means that if you were motivated in the past to donate at the end of the year to reduce your tax burden through itemizing, that may not be an incentive anymore. And that’s okay. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other great reasons to give during the last few weeks of the year.
Here are our top five reasons that making a year-end charitable gift is always a good choice.
1. Stretch your giving dollars with multiplied gifts.
Most of us want to give more than we can afford. But there’s no need to feel guilty that we’re not doing more. Instead, there’s an easy way to stretch your dollar without any effort on your part: Give when it’s multiplied by someone else.
Thanks to government grants and donations from generous corporations, many gifts from the World Vision Gift Catalog multiply in impact year-round.
Then did you know that a lot of companies — maybe even one you work for — match employee charitable donations? It’s easy to check and see if your organization is one of them.
And some companies will match your donation with gift-in-kind product. For example, on Giving Tuesday, Dec. 3, we partnered with Thirty-One Gifts, so financial donations on that day were matched by them in product donations that World Vision distributes to help children and families around the world.
So even if you can’t give as much as your heart would like you to, giving when someone else multiplies it will maximize what you can give.
2. Achieve your New Year’s resolution.
Remember way back on Jan. 1, when the year ahead was full of promise and you were excited and motivated? What was your New Year’s resolution? We can’t help you lose those pounds you wanted to shed, but if you said you wanted to be a better person, help others, or be more generous this year, giving a year-end gift can empower a child, provide hope to people in need, and help you say, “Yep, I rocked my resolution this year!”
If you want to take your desire to help up a notch and make an ongoing impact, sign up to be chosen. Chosen, World Vision’s new invitation to child sponsorship, puts the power to choose in the child’s hands — so you can have a boy or girl choose you by picking your photo. Then you can get to know the child who chose you through letters or emails! And your monthly financial support will empower them and their family and community to build their own brighter future, with resources like clean water, education, healthcare, economic empowerment, and spiritual nurture.
What’s even better than that? Because of World Vision’s community-focused solutions, for every child you help, four more benefit too. So you truly will be changing other people’s lives, but even as you see it happen, you may find that the person most changed is you, and isn’t that what resolutions are all about?
3. Fill year-end gaps for nonprofits.
How would it affect you if you didn’t know when your employer was going to pay you and you had no idea how much the check would be for when you did get it? It’d likely be nerve-racking as you tried to plan and provide for your family’s needs.
Just as you appreciate knowing how much you’ll get paid and how often, businesses — and especially nonprofits serving people in need — like to know how much money they have to work with so they can fulfill all of their commitments to help people in need. Year-end gifts can help fill a potential gap from what they thought would come in and what actually did. You can also sign up now to give a monthly gift throughout the year ahead. It can help provide that stability we all like, and then people who are helped will get the support they need.
Research and choose a nonprofit that will handle your money responsibly (and since you’re already here, we’d love to show you how we care for the money you entrust to us).
4. Set an example for children in your life.
You have (or had) every intention of trying to teach your children generosity this Christmas. So whether you’re reading this in November and you’re feeling overwhelmed about the weeks ahead, or it’s the last week of December and you’re disappointed that you didn’t find time for a meaningful activity with your kids, grandkids, or nieces and nephews, there is hope!
Start by talking with them about what the Bible says about generosity. God’s Word has so much to say on the topic, and it’s a great place to start.
Then you can share with them about people in need, explain how they can help and bless others, and select a gift you can give together. It can take as little as five minutes. And bonus: If it is after Christmas, you can talk about how it’s important to be generous, even after Christmas. See, it’s not procrastination after all. You meant to do that.
5. Giving feels good. (Guess why!)
We all love God and want to honor his desire that we do good to others. But did you know that God actually designed our bodies to feel good about giving? Joyful generosity is a normal human state — we’re biologically wired for sacrificial giving. When you give, joy is released, your spiritual growth is enhanced, your connections are strengthened, good gut feelings are promoted, and it can even help heal your body!
This is the season when we give thanks for all that God has given us. We celebrate God’s sacrificial love in sending us Jesus — his only Son. And the hope that this brings inspires us to help others and start each year full of hope.
These are only some of the many reasons to give at the end of the year (and really any time). Hopefully this list gives you some encouragement!