‘Tis the season for businesses to give back to the communities where they and their customers reside. The Christmas season is the most popular time of year for charitable giving — according to a recent survey of nonprofits, more than 10% get over half their funding during the holidays. To make sure that your gifts make the impact that you want, remember the following:

  1. Choose based on your organization’s values.

What is important to you? What values does your business put out into the world in your day to day actions? Some choose to focus on the environment, while others are passionate about caring for the elderly or education. Picking an organization for charitable giving that is consistent with your values makes your company’s gifts more meaningful.

  1. Research charities to find the ones that are most effective.

Registered nonprofits must share their financial information in order to keep their designation. You can look at resources like GuideStar and Charity Navigator to learn more about a group’s expenses and other factors. Choose ones with low overhead so that more of your gift goes into the important work that the group does.

  1. Find ways for employees to get involved.

Working together with your coworkers to do good can provide warm feelings and a general boost in office morale. Consider involving employees in the decision regarding which group to support each year. When people are able to choose the charity that they are supporting, they are more engaged with their giving activities.

Once a group is chosen, find ways for employees to stay involved. Some offices choose to adopt families and provide Christmas meals and gifts. Others engage in canned food drives or charity funding drives to increase the size of the gift from the business.

  1. Find out if the group that you choose is tax-deductible.

One quick way to learn whether a nonprofit is properly registered is by asking if contributions to the group are tax deductible. If a gift is not tax deductible, this is not a registered nonprofit. While some groups have specific reasons for not seeking full nonprofit status, a good rule of thumb is that a group that is registered has better oversight and is more likely to have the impact that you are seeking.

A bit of research and planning before the holidays means that the gifts that you give back are even more meaningful. Take some time to organize the best seasonal giving to make an impact not just during the holiday season, but throughout the year.

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