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How to give well

Written by Richard Docwra

These days many people are feeling financially stretched, but most of us could still afford to give more to people in greater need than us, and other important causes.

This Life Squared leaflet shows 10 ways you can make your support of these causes as effective as possible.

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How to give well

1. Think about your values
What are the issues you care about most?  Come up with a list and prioritise the issues in order of importance if you can.

2. Do some research
Research the organisations that could most effectively deliver your values.  Talk to them – ask them for information.  Don't accept waffle – treat it as seriously as you'd treat any financial investment.

3. Consider smaller organisations
The household name charities do great work and can give leverage to your donation, but also consider smaller charities working on specific projects where your gift could really make a big difference.

4. Make a shortlist
Our advice would be to give generously to a handful rather than spread yourself thinly over too many.

5. Give a direct debit
This helps organisations to plan their work and gives them a sense of continuity – yes, even    the really big ones.

6. Stay with them
Keep your gift going for as long as you can.  Set it up and assume this is just money that isn't yours any more.

7. Give a legacy
These can be huge news for charities and are a great way to ensure the values you care about are being looked after even when you're not around anymore.

8. Give generously
Most of us could give more than we currently do.  Giving 5% of our net income to charity each month should not be unreasonable for millions of us.  Could you afford to give more?

9. Make them accountable
If you've made the effort to invest your hard-earned money in an organisation's work, you should ask them to show you what they are doing with it.

10. Feel good about it
Giving to charity is a way of putting your values in action, so it's an important expression of your identity.  Feel good (but not smug or complacent) about it.

© Life Squared 2012

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