Guide to Charitable Giving

 

  1. View Your Donation as an Investment.

    Any gift to a charity should be seen as an investment, and  you want to invest in a charity that will make a major impact on its  recipients   while also giving you personal satisfaction. An  investment  approach to a particular group or cause will ensure a more meaningful  experience for you.
  2. Do Your Homework.

    When selecting where to give, it is important to gather  all the facts. Conducting thorough research prior to giving will help  you separate legitimate charities from frauds, as well as reassure you  that your donation is truly helping those who need it most. To avoid  fraudulent charities, make sure your chosen charity doesn't engage in  any of the following activities:  Sending mail appeals disguised as bills or invoices, offering very little or no information on actual day-to-day operations, and/or pressuring you to give.
  3. Understand the Tax Benefits of Giving.

    An added benefit to giving is that most charitable  donations are tax-deductible. To receive a tax deduction, you will need  the proper documentation when filing your income tax returns. The IRS  requires a receipt for each tax-deductible contribution of $250 or more.  Depending on the amount or type of your gift, you may need to provide  additional documents with your tax form, such as Form 8283 for each  non-cash donation exceeding $500.
  4. Decide How You Will Give and How Much.

    Financial donations are the most popular charitable gifts,  but there are other ways to help your favorite cause. Many  organizations will accept property and goods, as well as your time.  There are many options on how to give, including donating directly  online, by mail, through payroll deduction or through a donor-advised  fund. Additionally, find out if your employer will match your charitable  gift. This will even further maximize your investment.
  5. Track Your Donations.

    Once you have made your gift, mark your calendar with  important dates of   your charity's meetings and key events for the  year. These are excellent ways to see your investment at work. Also, be  sure to track the dates and amounts you gave payment methods and desired  uses for your gift. You should automatically receive a receipt with an  acknowledgement of your gift. If you don't, be sure to follow up. Don't  rely on a cancelled check to count as a receipt.

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