Portland, OR.  #GivingTuesday took place this year the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. The estimated $274 million donated as part of the sixth annual #GivingTuesday was the highest amount in the event’s history, according to an organization statement. The final count represents a 55 percent jump over the $177 million donated in 2016, continuing the increase in donations since the charity-focused event began in 2012.

The 2017 estimate comes from donations reported by about three dozen online giving platforms, including PayPal, Blackbaud, Classy and Facebook, and reflects only donations made in America, although the movement has taken hold around the world, according to Jamie McDonald, Giving Tuesday’s community campaign coordinator.

If you’re still looking for ways to give, here are some tips from Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities:

Step One: Be Proactive In Your Giving

Start by identifying which causes are important to you, and be specific about the impact you want your donation to have. For example, maybe you are interested in helping people with a particular disease. A large national organization might be better suited to research and finding a cure for the disease, whereas another one, perhaps in your community, could be doing great work providing services to patients and their families. Once you are clear about your philanthropic priorities, start to pull together a list of charities that match your interests.

Step Two: Research before Giving

Next, begin to narrow down your list of charities by conducting some basic research.

  • Make sure the charity you are considering supporting is a bona fide, tax exempt 501(c)(3) public charity (all of the charities evaluated by Charity Navigator meet this basic requirement). If you aren’t sure, ask for the organization’s EIN (Employer Identification Number) and then check our site to confirm its status.
  • Examine the charity’s finances. Financially healthy organizations – those that are both financially efficient and sustainable – have greater flexibility and freedom to pursue their charitable mission.
  • Ensure the charity is accountable and transparent. Charities that are an open book and follow good governance practices are less likely to engage in unethical or irresponsible activities.

Step Three: Discuss Results and Impact

A charity’s ability to bring about long-lasting and meaningful change in the world is the key reason for their existence and for your donation. So, before making a contribution, talk with the charity to learn about its accomplishments, goals, and challenges. Such conversations will give you insight into how well the charity knows where it stands and where it plans to go. Charities unwilling or unable to have this conversation may not deserve your support.

 

Step Four: Consider the Way You Give

  • You’ve done your due diligence, so trust the charity to determine how best to spend your contribution. Giving without strings attached (through unrestricted donations), provides the charity the flexibility it needs to respond to changing demands for its services.
  • Create a budget for how much you can (or would like to) give. Understanding the tax benefits of giving and spacing out gifts during the year (via automatic monthly donations) may boost your overall giving capacity.

Step Five: Follow Your Investment

Remember to follow up with the charity in six months to a year to find out how they’re using your money. You’re not looking for a list of itemized expenses, but instead a progress report to give you a sense of how responsive they are to you and if they can clearly communicate their progress.

  • Once you are assured that the charity is making an impact, make a commitment to support their work for the long haul. Only with long-term, committed supporters can a charity be successful!
  • But, if your charity can’t tell you what kind of results they created from your investment, go back to Step One and find one that will!

Below is a list of links to some Portland Area Nonprofits, so happy #GivingTuesday!

Arts, Culture & Humanities

As part of its commitment to the community, Portland Opera makes the final dress rehearsal of each opera available to the region's students.

As part of its commitment to the community, Portland Opera makes the final dress rehearsal of each opera available to the region’s students.

Human Services

Jessica Brandes has been awarded the prestigious Big Sister of the Year award for her dedication to her Little Sister and her work in promoting the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

The Big Sister of the Year award is given out dedication to a Little Sister and work in promoting the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Education

Ambassador Kennedy poses with the Mark Family outside of the Oregon Historical Society exhibit High Hopes: The Journey of John F. Kennedy.

Environment, Animals

On Memorial Day, DoveLewis treated a record-breaking number of patients – 95 animals in one day. Doctors saw a total of 253 that weekend.

Health

Songs for the Cure. Julianne Johnson and the Sisters in Survival Choir made the Survivor Tribute at Race for the Cure very moving with their lovely voices.

Songs for the Cure. Julianne Johnson and the Sisters in Survival Choir made the Survivor Tribute at Race for the Cure very moving with their voices.

Public/Society Benefit

The United Way of Columbia-Willamette helps organize the MLK Day of Service like where thousands volunteered like this Camp Fire program where students works in the garden to learn about local plants and vegetables, planting, maintaining gardens and healthy eating.

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