For many of us, the holiday season is a time to give to those who have less. Whether local food drives or kids across the ocean, donating to a meaningful cause is fulfilling. But, you want to make sure your gift reaches the anticipated home. Follow these guidelines to become a savvy charitable giver this holiday season:
Find an Established Organization
Sadly, there are fraudulent charities out to make a profit off your generosity. Know who you’re giving to by asking for written information. Name, address, and telephone number are a good place to start. A legitimate charity will tell you their mission, donation use and proof that your contribution is tax deductible. These charities will have a proven track record.
Designate Your Giving
Many charities let you to choose exactly where your gift goes. For example, which orphanage, school supplies or to a specific geographic area needing relief. By designating the gift, you control just where your donation goes and helps.
Proactive = Smart
Wise givers don't give impulsively or to the first organization that comes their way. They take time to recognize the causes most meaningful to them. Ask the organization about their mission and what type of aid and programs they offer. Your charity should have targeted outcomes for their giving.
A donor's primary motivation should come from the joy of giving. But, everyone knows there are also great tax benefits for those who give. Many donations entitle you to a charitable contribution tax deduction. A contribution to a qualified charity is deductible only in the year in which it is paid. Not all charities qualify for the charitable contribution deduction. Always ask for a receipt and save it for tax time.
Can You Give Your Time?
Four out of five charities report using volunteers. If fact, they are the foundation of many charitable organizations. If you are tight on money, consider giving your time. If you volunteer, some of the tasks you may do include stuffing envelopes, feeding animals, tutoring, building homes, serving as a museum docent, organizing, counseling those in crisis, selling tickets or answering phone calls.
Visit these other sites to find out more on charitable giving: