NBSB’s Guide to Holiday Giving: Charitable Donations
For many people, it is important to take time during the holiday season to share some kindness and give back to those who are in need. Donating to a charitable cause can be fulfilling, but it’s important to ensure that your gift reaches your intended source. Follow these tips to make informed giving decisions this holiday season:
Give to an Established Charity
Unfortunately, there are fraudulent charities that will take advantage of your goodwill. To avoid this situation, ask for written information about the charity, including name, address and telephone number. A legitimate charity will give you information about their mission, how your donation will be used and proof that your contribution is tax deductible. Find a charity with a proven track record for providing aid.
Designate Your Gift
Some charities allow you to specify exactly where your gift is headed, either to a specific orphanage, to purchase school supplies, or to a geographic area in need of relief. By designating or earmarking your gift, you control where your donation goes and whom it helps.
A Proactive Giver is a Smart Giver
Wise givers don’t give on an impulse or to the first organization that comes along. Smart givers take time to identify the causes important to them. Contact a charitable organization, find out their mission and what type of aid and programs they offer. Work with charities that have targeted outcomes for their giving.
Benefits to You
A donor’s primary motivation may be altruism, but everyone knows there are great tax benefits for those who give. A donation to a qualified organization may entitle you to a charitable contribution deduction. Remember a contribution to a qualified charity is deductible only in the year in which it is paid, and not all charities qualify for a charitable contribution deduction. Always ask for a receipt and save them for tax time.
Consider Donating Your Time
Four out of five charities report using volunteers. Volunteers are the foundation of many charitable organizations. If you can’t afford to donate money, consider donating your time. Common volunteer duties include: stuffing envelopes, feeding animals, tutoring, building homes, serving as a museum guide, counseling those in crisis, selling tickets, or answering phone calls.
Here are some great local charities to consider donating to:
- Fuel Assistance Organizations
- Food Banks or Pantries
- Veterans Programs
- Youth Centers
- Senior Centers
- Pet Shelters or Rescue Centers
- Homeless Shelters
- Cancer Programs
- Volunteering at Soup & Food Kitchens