'Tis The Season: A Guide To Charitable Giving


It’s that time of year — when our inboxes overflow with Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, pushing us to score the perfect holiday gifts before they're gone. But it's also the season to shift our focus from shopping carts to spreading generosity. 🎁 If you're looking to make a meaningful impact beyond the checkout page, check out these ideas to kickstart your season of giving.

🚨 Spoiler alert: Want to level up your giving game? Use your Step or Step Black Card now through December 5, 2023 and you can earn up to 10% cashback¹ on eligible charitable donations! Keep reading for other tips to maximize your impact this holiday season.

The definition of charitable giving

Charitable giving is a powerful way to make a positive difference in the world. Whether it's contributing time, money, or skills, the goal of charitable giving is to support organizations or causes dedicated to creating positive change. These can range from education and human rights to disaster relief, arts and culture, and environmental issues.

Type of charitable giving

Charitable giving isn't just about donating money. Beyond monetary support, you can contribute your time and skills to various causes. From volunteering at a local shelter, participating in community-driven initiatives, or using your professional expertise to support a nonprofit's mission, the ways you can give back are as diverse as your individual strengths.

Gen Z is redefining how individuals can make a positive difference in the world, emphasizing that everyone has a unique role to play in creating meaningful change. Here are a few ways this generation is using their time, money, and skills to make a difference:

Social activism

Gen Z is harnessing the power of social media to amplify their voices and advocate for social change and create communities dedicated to making positive changes. Platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok serve as spaces where they share information, personal experiences, and diverse perspectives on various issues, ranging from climate change to social justice.

Digital fundraising

Gen Z's use of crowdfunding sites makes charitable giving more accessible and inclsive. These digital platforms allow individuals to contribute to causes regardless of where they live, fostering a sense of global community. Some of these platforms even allow for micro-charitable donations, or small donations that are generally between $0.25 and $10. This democratization of giving empowers a broader range of people to participate in philanthropy and can collectively make a big impact.

Smart shopping

Gen Z is championing a significant shift towards eco-conscious consumerism. Through smart shopping practices, this generation supports brands that prioritize sustainability and ethical business practices. 🛍 When making purchasing decisions, Gen Z considers factors such as a brand's use of recycled materials, efforts to reduce carbon footprints, and adoption of ethical production methods.

Planning your charitable giving

If you do opt to make a charitable donation, remember that no amount of money is too small when supporting a cause you are passionate about. Planning your charitable giving involves considering where your money will be directed, what it will be used for, and how it aligns with what you can comfortably afford.

Get the facts

Research the organizations you want to support to ensure they align with your values and you believe they can have a positive impact before you make charitable gifts. Look into their mission, financial transparency, and demonstrate the effectiveness of their programs. Sites like Charity Navigator are great for helping you narrow down your list of causes and review key metrics, like impact results, program expenses, and financial statements.

Consider your budget

Whether you're planning a one-time donation or allocating a specific amount monthly or yearly, integrating charitable gifts into your budget is a strategic move that ensures both sustainability and intentionality in your giving practices. By earmarking a dedicated portion of your budget for charitable endeavors, you not only establish a structured approach to giving but also empower yourself to align your contributions with your financial goals.

Maximize your impact

Stretch your giving further with smart financial strategies. For example, to celebrate #GivingTuesday, Step is offering 5% or 10% cashback on all eligible charitable donations made with a Step or Step Black Card from November 28th, 2023 through December 5th, 2023. 💸 It's a simple way to make your money work harder and potentially magnify your impact on a cause or charitable organization near and dear to your heart.

Consider the tax benefits

A gift to a qualified organization may entitle you to a charitable tax deduction (or tax savings) if you itemize deductions. It's best to consult a financial advisor or tax professional who can help you determine if you have made cash contributions that are tax deductible.

Ways to practice giving this season

Don't have a list of favorite charities or not sure where to start? Here are 5 ideas to infuse your holiday season with the spirit of giving:

  1. Pay it forward: Random acts of kindness are great ways to give back. Whether you’re grabbing your peppermint latte at Starbucks or a burrito at Chipotle, paying for the person behind you can be a great way to spread joy this season. 💗

  2. Donate clothes: If you needed a reason to clean out your closet, this is it. Local homeless shelters are always looking for these kinds of charitable donations this time of year. Plus, you get to declutter. It’s a win-win!

  3. Volunteer your time: If you have a little extra time this winter break, grab a friend and head to a local animal shelter 🐼, food bank, or charitable organization of your choice. If you don’t have the time, consider a cash contribution instead.

  4. Check in on someone: Send them a holiday card 📬, shoot them a text, or give them a call. You never know who might need a pick-me-up, and hearing from you might just do the trick.

  5. Help a neighbor in need: Offer a helping hand during a busy time of year. Whether it’s shoveling snow, running an errand for them, or even dropping off baked goods. Simple gestures can go a long way.

This season, let's make our giving as memorable as the festivities themselves. By choosing to spread generosity, we create a ripple effect that goes beyond the material gifts and brings true meaning to the holiday season. 🌟✨

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