5 Tips for Giving Back this Holiday Season

December 9, 2015 –Did you know that on average charities receive about 40% of their total yearly donations in the last three months of the year? Some groups report receiving almost 30% of their yearly gifts in December alone, with 10% coming in the last two days of the year. At Operation USA, the trends are no different–we rely on year-end gifts from supporters like you to plan for the year ahead, and December is our busiest month for processing donations. We know this time of year is busy for you, too, so we put together these tips to help you make the most of year-end giving. Read on to learn more!





1) Donate before December 31st to receive tax benefits on your next return. While many donors give a year-end gift simply as a gesture of good will, there are some benefits to the donor when it comes to getting a tax deduction for your gift. To qualify for a deduction on your 2016 return, make sure your donation is processed by December 31, 2015. Send checks early in December, call to give by phone before Christmas, or give online until midnight on New Year’s Eve. And, don’t forget–unrestricted monetary donations are the best way to ensure that the causes you care about are able to plan for the year ahead!


2) Give the gift of humanitarian aid. Do you have people on your holiday shopping list that are challenging to buy for? Give the perfect gift this year by donating to a good cause in their name! At Operation USA, we’ll even send a special holiday card to your recipient letting them know just how meaningful their gift is to the people who will benefit from your donation.


3) Shop online to earn donations. Most people will complete at least some of their holiday purchases online this year, and now it’s easier than ever to support your favorite causes while you shop! Sign up for services like Amazon Smile and We-Care.com to earn donations with every qualified purchase on Amazon or at thousands of other merchants at no added costs to you.


4) Donate unused air miles or redeem credit card charity rewards. Do you have frequent flyer miles banked, or does your credit card allow you to redeem points in the form of a charitable gift? Many programs offer rewards that expire at the end of the calendar year. Review all your reward earnings this month and consider donating your unused miles or points to causes that can use them before they expire. At Operation USA, we rely on United Airlines Charity Miles to send programs staff to areas where we work around the world. You can donate your unused United miles here at no cost to you and turn them into travel for us!


5) Spread good cheer by promoting your favorite causes. Whether or not you have the extra funds to give a charitable gift this holiday season, the causes you care about can always benefit from publicity and word of mouth! Spread good will and holiday cheer by telling friends and loved ones about your preferred causes, especially during the holiday season when many people are looking for groups to which they can give year-end gifts. Whether you include a note in your holiday cards, include pamphlets in gifts to relatives, or use online tools to share holiday promotions, every little bit counts!


BONUS TIP: Think local for material donations! While groups working internationally (like Operation USA) often need in-kind donations to be made in bulk by larger corporations, there are many groups in your own neighborhood that can use your help with material donations this time of year. Seek out local organizations to give gently used winter clothing, jackets, hats, mittens and holiday toys and help people right in your own community!


How will you help the causes you care about this holiday season? Share your ideas in the comments below!


Want to give a holiday gift to Operation USA now? Donate here.