The Millennials’ Guide to Charitable Giving

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Every year we make that list. We resolve to do something new, something different, or something better in the New Year than we did in the last. But as we get further and further away from the Madison Square ball dropping, many of us often drop the ball on our own resolutions. This year, if one of your resolutions included giving more time, money or resources to charity, these are some easy ways to make sure you stay on track.

1. Research

It’s important to take the time to fully understand a charity’s mission, vision, long-term plans, and balance sheet. How does the charity plan on using your donation? Is it going to the area you were hoping for? Many organizations have several areas of focus – research, support for families affected, awareness, etc.

2. Pick More Than One Charity or Cause

There is no reason that you have to bind yourself to one particular charity or cause. I like picking one general category each year or every few years to support. For example, you may decide that in 2015 you’d really like to focus on children’s organizations. In 2016, maybe you’ll decide to support the arts, or medical research.

3. Have Passion for the Purpose

The most valuable asset a charity can have going for it is a passionate volunteer and donor. Passionate volunteers are invaluable to charitable organizations in large part because they help to spread awareness of the cause and the charity – and ultimately garner passion from other volunteers and donors that can continue to further the cause.

4. Get Involved

Even if your budget doesn’t allow for large donations, you can still generate money for causes close to your heart by getting involved in charity walks, runs, urban obstacle courses, cycling/spinning events, etc. where you can raise donations through sponsorship. Likewise, charities often need your time as much as they need your money, so consider volunteering at a soup kitchen, a local hospital, an animal rescue, or working with homeless children through mentorship or tutoring programs. Your time can make all of the difference in the world to someone who needs it.

5. Track Your Donations and/or Set up a Charitable Trust

If you’re donating money to charity regularly, make sure you have an organized system to track your donations. Specific a specific email folder and save all receipts in one place. This will help you when it comes time to pay your taxes. You may also consider setting up a Charitable Trust, which you can learn more about here.

If you haven’t started working towards your goal of giving back this year, there’s still plenty of time. If you’re looking to donate time, money or resources, but aren’t sure what causes appeal to you, I recommend checking out VolunteerMatch.org. This site groups charities by region and cause, and may just inspire you to find an organization you can’t wait to help, and that would love your help too.

Star Hughes is a director at Hughes Marino, an award-winning commercial real estate firm specializing in tenant representation and building purchases. Based in Southern California, Star is a key member of Hughes Marino’s Downtown San Diego brokerage team, where she has worked on more than one million square feet of lease negotiations. She makes frequent media appearances to speak on business issues from a millennial perspective, and blogs about life as a woman in a male-dominated industry at starhughes.com. Contact Star at 1-844-NO-CONFLICT, or star@hughesmarino.com.


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