1 In LIFE/ Vent Sesh

How to Decide Where You Should Donate


Guys, keep reading. I promise it’s worth it.

I went to a conference last month in DC focused on philanthropy, social action, marketing, and all the related. My day job is in PR, and my company over time has evolved to primarily focus on working with the nonprofit, hospitality and tourism sectors. Even though I attended as a volunteer on behalf of the organization, I learned so much. Ok, fact, I totally nerded out and took a bazillion notes.

While listening to countless seminars and speakers, one topic really resonated that will likely hit home with many of you…

This time of year, everything feels so materialistic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m guilty of it as well, but let’s focus for a second.

When it comes to philanthropy, what are your priorities?

I heard from a woman during the conference who helps foundations and major donors determine how and where they’ll give. Talking big money here.

What she does though is what we should do: focus on THREE PRIORITIES.


You can’t give to every cause that emails, mails and stalks, even though they’re all important.

So what’s important to you?

This year, as you’re deciding any donations or contributions before the end of the year (hello, tax benefits!), really think about this.

I’m involved in the community but this mental exercise has been a game changer. It gave me the power to resign from a Board (great organization, not a match for me and my limited time), and has helped me, and our family, hone in our priorities so we can maximize our impact.

So, what are causes most significant to me?


There, that’s it. Yup, I care about our country’s very serious homeless population, about foster children and those in extreme poverty, about health-related causes that have impacted our family, and more.

But, how can I contribute meaningfully with my time or financial resources to everything?

I can’t. Neither can you.


My children and my husband might have different philanthropic priorities; it’s all about identifying causes meaningful to each of us.

I know I feel so blessed… giving back and contributing to others is central to my life, and knowing my three priorities has made it easier to give this year when faced with the


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  • Reply
    December 20, 2016 at 12:45 PM

    I so love that you wrote about this today, Alyson! My career is in non-profit fundraising, so your post really hits home. There is SO MUCH we can do to support the amazing organizations that are in our communities — organizations that are serving people and making a tangible impact. Gifts in ANY amount make a difference and are so appreciated by schools, agencies, hospitals, etc…. It feels so darn good to support a cause that is personally meaningful. xx

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