During the holidays, giving to charities is often something on the forefront of many’s minds. For those who are not as familiar with the process or are looking for a new charity to donate to this year, it can be an overwhelming process to begin.
From donating time to donating money to donating goods, there is a wide variety of ways to be philanthropic throughout the holiday season and the rest of the year. Understanding the process is a bit easier with these tips below:
What to Donate
First and foremost, consider what you are looking to donate. Are you interested in volunteering your own time, such as working at a charitable event or serving at a community center? Or, you can donate money to a cause. Moreover, with charitable donations being a tax deduction, many find that donating money is fiscally responsible. Depending upon your situation, you can donate a one-time payment or you can break up your donations into smaller amounts you pay throughout the year.
For those who are interested in donating physical goods, there are plenty of charities that accept all sorts of donations. Places like the Salvation Army and Goodwill accept furniture, clothing, and other household items, all of which can be considered as a tax deduction. Or, for those who are looking to donate something more sizable, like a boat, there are often events where you can to a charity auction.
Knowing ahead of time what you want to donate can help you determine what charity to donate to.
Choose a Charity
Secondly, when it comes to donating to charity, it is important to have a charity or multiple charities in mind. If you are unsure of what charities are available, start by narrowing down your own interests. Are you interested in donating to a hospital? To a research center? To a charity raising awareness for a social or political issue? If you can narrow down your own interests, you can start to narrow down what charities you are interested in.
Before donating to a charity, make sure you have thoroughly checked out the institution. There are many organizations posing as charities that are in fact not charitable companies. Conversely, there are plenty of legitimate organizations that do charitable work, but how the company runs may not necessarily align with your values. For instance, some charities are non-profits while others pay their executives copious amounts of money.
While some organizations do need to use some of the donated proceeds to keep the charity running, including paying their employees, many financial advisors suggest staying away from charities that give too much to administrative costs. In this situation, unfortunately, the money you have donated is not actually benefiting in the manner you expected.
Create a Giving Statement
When it comes to donating to charity, it can be a wise idea to create a personal giving statement or spreadsheet that details what charities you are donating to. This statement can be as detailed or vague as needed, but keeping track of where your money is going can help you stay on top of your giving, specifically, what and how much you have donated to various charities.
Moreover, keep the statement as updated and relevant as possible for . If donating goods, take pictures of what you are donating and keep them with the donation receipt. For tax purposes, should you ever be , having the details handy can help the auditing process move smoothly.
Lastly, donating is a personal choice, and while no one should feel forced to donate, there are some legitimate reasons to donate to charity. As mentioned above, donations are tax deductible, which can be a great reason for a business to donate to charity. Additionally, donating can help to keep you informed about social or political issues you otherwise would not have had a vested interest in. Or, if you have an issue that is near and dear to your heart, donating to that cause or charity can help you feel as if you have some part in helping the cause.
If you are interested in making a charitable donation this season, these guidelines can help get you started.
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