How to help local charities on Giving Tuesday

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We’ve had Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and now it is time for Giving Tuesday. Non-profits across the state and across the country are hoping for your help today.

This is the season of giving, after all. Instead of spending money on stuff on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is about giving your time or your money to charity.

On most days you would find volunteers helping build a house on Summer Street in Portland, but it is an extra large crowd here today from the Middlesex Habitat for Humanity. That’s because it is their first year taking part in Giving Tuesday.

“In the past, you would hear about it, but to see a lot of other local people doing it as well, it’s a big deal and I’m excited to be a part of it,” said Middlesex Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Sarah Bird.

Related: Giving Tuesday encourages helping local charities

Giving Tuesday started in 2012 in New York as a way to encourage people and groups around the world to celebrate the idea of giving. Middlesex Habitat for Humanity is hoping to raise $5,000 today to help them build more homes. This one is spoken for.

“We are building it for Dustin and Yuron Fitzpatrick and their daughter Sofia,” Bird said. “Dustin is a Marine Corps combat vet. He is absolutely amazing.”

That family will be able to move in sometime early next year. If you would like to help, givingtuesday.org has a list of charities in Connecticut. There are about a thousand organizations listed, from the 4-A Scholarship Foundation to the YMCA. All of them would like your help, with a donation of money, time, or a little bit of yourself.

For instance the Red Cross wants you to donate blood. They’ll be on the Yale and SCSU campuses all week. The blood supply usually gets uncomfortably low in January because people are too busy to donate during the holidays. Here are the hours and locations:

11/26/2018: 10 a.m. – 3:45 p.m., Yale – Joseph Slifka Center, 80 Wall Street

11/27/2018: 10 a.m. – 3:45 p.m., Yale – Joseph Slifka Center, 80 Wall Street

11/28/2018: 10 a.m. – 3:45 p.m., Yale – Joseph Slifka Center, 80 Wall Street

11/29/2018: 10 a.m. – 3:45 p.m., Yale – Joseph Slifka Center, 80 Wall Street

11/30/2018: 11 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., Yale Undergrad, 205 Elm Street

11/29/2018: 11 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., Michael J. Adanti  Student Center/SCSU, 501 Crescent Street

12/3/2018: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., 25 Science Park St at Yale, 150 Munson St., Room 125, 25 Science Park Street

12/12/2018: 7:45 a.m. – 1 p.m., New Haven Field House Foyer, 480 Sherman Parkway

12/14/2018: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Yale Undergrad at St. Mary’s Church, 5 Hillhouse Ave.

12/19/2018: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Yale Undergrad at St. Mary’s Church, 5 Hillhouse Ave.

The Red Cross is also looking for money this Giving Tuesday to help with all their disaster relief efforts. Monetary donations have suffered nationwide since federal tax laws changed last year. The standard deduction doubled, which means a lot fewer people itemize their deductions. Without itemizing, there’s no tax incentive for giving to charity. 

What the leaders of the nation’s non-profits hope is that people will continue to donate to their favorite charities even if there’s nothing in it for them.

“So the optimist in me thinks that people give out of the goodness of their heart and they will step up,” said Gail McGovern, American Red Cross, CEO. To help the Red Cross in Connecticut, click here

Social media plays a big part in Giving Tuesday, with people taking “#UnSelfies” today to show they’re giving. Also, many charities are getting matching grants through third parties. For Habitat, it’s PayPal.

  • Facebook and PayPal will start matching donations at 8:00am ET (5:00am PT) on Tuesday, November 27, 2018. The matching offer will expire when $7 million in donations is reached or at 11:59pm PT on November 27.
  • Donations will be matched dollar for dollar on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Donations up to $250k per nonprofit and $20k per donor are eligible to be matched.

To find a charity near you, click here. 

The Better Business Bureau has some warnings about Giving Tuesday. The organization urges donors to research charities before giving to ensure that their generous contributions are going to trustworthy organizations. 

BBB Wise Giving Alliance (WGA) is sharing five tips to help donors give wisely and make the most of their generosity this holiday season:

Watch out for name similarities. When charities seek support for the same cause, their names are often similar. Before you give, be sure you have the exact name of the charity to avoid a case of mistaken identity.

Avoid on-the-spot donation decisions from unfamiliar organizations. The holidays bring a higher frequency of donation requests outside public locations. Don’t succumb to the pressure of making an immediate giving decision. Responsible organizations will welcome your gift tomorrow as much as they do today.

Be wary of emotional appeals. Marketers have been known to exploit the holidays to make emotional pleas to donors. Always research to verify that your selected charity operates ethically.

Avoid charities that don’t disclose. Although participation is voluntary, charities that don’t disclose any of the requested information to BBB WGA raise a critical red flag for donors. Visit Give.org to find out if your selected charity discloses necessary information.

Rely on standards-based evaluations. Charities can demonstrate they are trustworthy by agreeing to in-depth evaluations such as the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. Get free access to charity reports at Give.org.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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