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Whether using a money-saving coupon, enjoying a BOGO sale or getting extra shopper rewards, it’s always exciting to get more bang for your buck. A good deal gives you more cash to set aside for necessities, savings or even the next sale. Or, better yet, you could donate that extra money to charity – and get some good karma in return.

A charitable donation of any size, at any time, can make an impact. But did you know that when and how you donate to charities can make an even greater difference?

Just like stretching your dollars with an enticing offer, you can help charities stretch your donations further by taking advantage of gift matching opportunities. Plus, you can time your donations strategically to help charities better support their causes throughout the year.

Ensure Your Donations Make a World of Difference

Consider these eight strategies to help ensure your donations make the most impact.

  1. Watch for Matching Gift Opportunities

    Your charitable donations can go much further when organizations announce matching gifts from big donors. Many charities promote such offers at least once a year. They commonly feature a one-to-one match, allowing you to double your donation – without giving any more money. Yet, some matches go even further, providing double and triple the value of donations or more.

    Matching gift opportunities are especially common near the end of the year. However, they are also prevalent during months commonly associated with a particular charity’s cause. For example, you’re likely to find matching gift offers for the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. or Susan G. Komen® during October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In addition, the American Heart Association, Inc. is more likely to offer matches during American Heart Month each February.

  2. Ask Your Employer to Match Your Donations

    In addition to keeping your eyes peeled for charity-sponsored gift matches, you can initiate a matching program on your own by checking with your employer. Many organizations are willing to financially match employees’ charitable donations. All it takes is finding the right contacts – usually someone in human resources – to ask. Before you know it, your own employer may be supporting your favorite charity.

    Your employer may already offer matching gift opportunities as part of its corporate social responsibility program. If so, watch for internal announcements and mark your calendar so you can participate.

  3. Set Your Own Match

    If you have the means, you can also commit to your own match. You could do this privately among friends and family, or go public via an online donation site. In either case, be sure to set a matching limit and disclose the amount so you don’t make a commitment that’s beyond your budget.

  4. Give throughout the Year

    Year-end is the biggest fundraising time for many charities. It’s when people realize they have money to give – or that they simply haven’t gotten around to it yet. Naturally, donations are welcome anytime. However, charitable organizations’ needs extend throughout the year, so your gift can be especially helpful during months other than December.

    A donation at midyear or in a random month may help the charity stay on track when donations are lean.

  5. Schedule Periodic Contributions

    Setting up weekly paycheck deductions for charities is another way to help them stay afloat year-round. Such contributions provide a steady stream of donations and help charities sustain momentum during lean times.

    Automatic payroll deductions are also a helpful way to reduce expenses for charities, as they won’t incur any fees associated with such contributions, unlike with credit card donations.

  6. Give to Special Projects

    In addition to their general donation outreach, many organizations initiate campaigns for specific causes or projects they have identified as priorities. Such campaigns may address a recent disaster, necessary facility improvements or a special program. Giving to such initiatives enables charities to address specific needs more quickly, ensuring your dollars go to these important activities.

  7. Add a Charity Bequest to Your Will

    You can continue to make an impact for charities long after you’re gone by making a bequest in your will. Such gifts or trusts will help you leave a bit of your legacy to causes that are meaningful to you.

    They can also help your heirs by reducing the tax burden from your estate. Including a bequest in your will is as simple as either specifying a share of your assets or a specific amount, and naming the charity.

  8. Give What You Can When You Can

    Charities will welcome any monetary donation. Even a few dollars here and there will help back their efforts to improve outcomes for the individuals and/or causes they support. As noted above, you can time your donations strategically and take other actions to stretch your contributions further for your favorite charities.

While you may not always be able to increase the value of your donations, following the tips above will help to ensure your giving makes the greatest impact.

This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

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