By Phil Snyder, Executive Director of Suncoast Humane Society
Published in the Englewood Sun on December 13, 2015
I was asked recently, "What in the world do you give your adult children for Christmas when they have everything under the sun?" Before I could answer her, this wonderful, compassionate lady added, "Here, this check is a donation to (the) Suncoast Humane Society in honor of both of my children. They will be delighted to know it is their Christmas gift."
This gesture is one example of the distinctive ways in which people choose to make financial donations to their favorite charity. In this case, it was an honorary gift given for a holiday. Charities also receive memorial donations and matching gifts.
Honorary donations often are made to nonprofit organizations in recognition of special people, places, or events in one's life. Individuals celebrating a birthday, graduation, anniversary or retirement may ask friends and relatives to make a donation in their honor, in place of buying a gift. Donors themselves may make the decision to have their contribution recognized in this manner. Either way, donating instead of gift giving or receiving is a selfless, generous act.
A memorial gift is a wonderful testimony to the life of a beloved family member, pet, relative or friend who is no longer with us. Monthly or annual donors often request that their contribution be recognized as a memorial gift. Donations to specified charities often are requested in lieu of flowers, at funerals and memorials.
Matching gift programs are offered by certain corporations or businesses as a benefit for their employees. When the employee gives a certain amount to a charity, or raises a specified amount, the participating employer will match it.
Most charitable organizations rely on wills and bequests and other planned giving options, as well as grants from foundations, to assure their future. Support of their programs and services depends heavily on individual donations.
Writing a check is still viewed as the most common form of philanthropy in the world. It is relatively simple and certainly direct. However, if you don't know where your checkbook is anymore, there are certainly credit cards and online giving to be considered.
Whether you want to celebrate a birthday or a special occasion, remember a loved one, or just give for the love and respect of the charity, your financial gift should be deeply appreciated. And if it is given for one of the special reasons listed above, I bet you will feel better for giving it.