As the days get colder more and more selfless souls can be seen braving the cold in Santa suits and shaking donation buckets; however despite charities becoming more visible over the festive period, we're not necessarily giving more money. In fact studies have found that although we give at a higher frequency in December, in terms of actual monetary amount, November sees a higher pile of cash. Probably most guilt-inducing of all, the average increase in giving in December from the rest of the year, is well overshadowed by our increased spending on booze, at 17x as much.
So how do we ensure we're balancing out all that naughty behavior with a few good tidings and deeds?
Charity Christmas cards have become a staple of the holiday season, however all cards aren't made equally. Doing your research is essential to making sure your chosen charity is getting the most bang for your buck, as the percentage of donations can differ enormously. With Fenwick coming under fire in 2010, for only donating 5p from their £3.95 'charity' cards. To be safe take an online trip to Card Aid, where 40-60% of the price you pay goes directly to charity.
Only one Card Company donates 100% of the price of their cards, with Sreepur Cards http://www.sreepurcards.org/ made in rural Bangladesh by the women of the Sreepur Village Outreach Projects. Flown for free by British Airways, proceeds are all funneled back into the community. You can register for next year's cards, however support has been so overwhelming, that this year's supply sold out long ago.
If you're struggling with the irony behind 'Save the Rainforest Cards', 'Good Gifts Catalogue' https://www.goodgifts.org/ offer a great alternative, allowing you to put the usual price of your cards towards a gift, such as warm clothes for a child in India, or a week's milk for a needy family.
Give as you live
Allowing you to help donate to your chosen charities, Give as you live, takes nothing from your present fund and in fact helps you to find your gifts. Simply click through to your favourite online shop, from their website and they'll donate a percentage of every purchase you make, at no additional cost to yourself.
"It's a really simple way for consumers to support charity for free. Funds raised by our supporters have been used to grant wishes-of-a-lifetime for Starlight's seriously and terminally ill children" - Neil Swan, Starlight's CEO
Last year, once again, Charities Aid Foundation found the UK to be the most generous in Europe''. However possibly stemming from uncertainties regarding Brexit and our own economy, we moved down 2 spaces in their overall league table, jumping from 6th to 8th. Both Myanmar and Iraq however proved that giving isn't always down to large donations, claiming the 'Most Generous' and 'Most Likely to Help a Stranger' titles respectively.
Crisis, a leading homeless charity ask that, in this mindset, if you can't donate your money, donate your time. Whether you're skilled at cooking, creative writing or crafts, there's something you can get involved with all over the country.
Described as 'crowdfunded employment training for homeless people, helping them to progress towards stable paid work', Beam is a brilliant new way to help others to help themselves. Paying tuition providers directly, the company spends time with each member to ensure they have a fully achievable plan to get back on their feet, with each recipient requiring a different level of donations. Currently soft-launching, Beam have already helped 7 members hit their targets, with the remaining 2 only inches away from their own. Through a small donation you could help struggling job seekers start the New Year with new hope.
"When I first heard about Beam", says Tony, "I thought, 'why would anyone want to help me out?' Then, when I read the messages from my supporters, I just didn't have words. Thanks to Beam, I'm now training to become a fully-qualified electrician." - Beam's first member, Tony
Support our charity partner, Great Ormond Street, by donating to their Christmas Stocking Appeal. Messages that you leave will be displayed within the hospital helping you to raise funds and morale. Something families find crucial during the holiday period.
"The care we got was phenomenal. But being in hospital is like being in a bubble, so reading such kind messages on the Christmas stockings was so heart-warming."