Money Matters

Smart Charitable Giving for The Holidays

Roughly one quarter of all charitable gifts are made in the final six weeks of the year, likely the result of holiday spirit and the need to give before year-end for tax purposes. Pamela Yellen, a financial security expert and two-time New York Times bestselling author, has some smart tips for fulfilling charitable giving:

Give to What You’re Passionate About: “Before you think about how much—or even where—you want to give, think about your passions. Perhaps you get excited about early childhood education or preserving wildlife. Maybe you’re committed to supporting the library system, promoting interfaith understanding, or rescuing abandoned pets. You’re bound to find good people and organizations who are working on those causes. Your greatest satisfaction will come when you give to them.”

Give to Those Who Make a Difference to Your World: This could be as simple as leaving a great tip for great service at a restaurant, or service people who work hard to help you. “Take a moment right now to think about who you would like to reward for great service or hard work. What is it about them that inspires you? List these very special people right alongside the list of your passions.”

Look for Charities that are Efficient: “Some charities have extremely high marketing and advertising budgets, high salaries to executives, and other administrative expenses that are hefty. I want most of my financial contributions to directly benefit the cause or those in need. Therefore, we choose to donate to organizations that will use at least 80% of our donations for the work of the organization, not its overhead.” To find out how efficient your favorite charities are, you can research them on sites like,, and You can also dive deeper into a charity’s financials through a site affiliated with the Better Business Bureau,

“Generosity breeds a sense of wellbeing and tells your brain that you are resourceful and you have resources,” Yellen says. “Regular giving gives you, the giver, as many benefits as it gives your recipients!”

Pamela Yellen is a financial investigator and the author of two best-selling books, including her latest, The Bank on Yourself Revolution: Fire Your Banker, Bypass Wall Street, and Take Control of Your Own Financial Future. Pamela investigated more than 450 financial strategies seeking an alternative to the risk and volatility of stocks and other investments, which led her to a time-tested, predictable method of growing wealth now used by more than 500,000 Americans. For more information, visit


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