fb-pixel Skip to main content

Why not give the gift of charity this holiday season?

Here are a few tips for Giving Tuesday and the whole year.

A giant Salvation Army Red Kettle stood on Giving Tuesday in New York's Times Square.Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

Netflix. Spotify. And, to be sure, The Boston Globe.

These are some of the subscriptions my wife and I pay for each month, without so much as clicking a mouse. We don’t have to remember when the bill is due. We don’t have to write a check. The money comes from our bank account or credit card automatically.

We’ve also started making charitable donations this way, too. Many recipients, including my public radio station and alma mater, encourage recurring donations because it’s easier to plan knowing they’ll be getting X dollars a month from benefactors.

Today is Giving Tuesday, a socially conscious pushback on the hypermaterialism of Cyber Monday or Black Friday. As you sort through the appeals in your e-mail inbox, consider setting up a recurring payment to the causes you support.


Also, instead of spreading small amounts among many charities, you might want to give heftier donations to the ones you really want to help out. That’s especially important for smaller nonprofits, where your dollars will make a relatively bigger difference.

“Focus and consistency are two of the most powerful ways that donors can make a greater impact with whatever amount they have available to give,” said Kristen Robinson, chief operating officer at Fidelity Charitable.

Fidelity Charitable is the country’s largest donor-advised fund, but there are others, including from Vanguard and Schwab. Fund contributions — which can be in the form of cash, stock, or even bitcoin — are eligible for an immediate tax deduction, and can be invested, with any gains accumulating tax-free. The fund managers, which charge small fees for handling investments and donations, make grants as directed by the donor/investor.

Robinson also offered up this suggestion: Instead of buying gifts for family and friends this year, make a donation in their name. According to a Fidelity Charitable survey of more than 1,500 American adults, nearly six in 10 said they would rather receive a donation to charity on their behalf instead of a gift for themselves this year.


It’s a good idea, even if came via a corporate news release.

Larry Edelman can be reached at larry.edelman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeNewsEd.