5 Tips to Keep in Mind When Giving to Charity

donations for charity

Giving to charity is one of the best things that you can do with your money! As with any financial decision, making a sizeable or recurring contribution to a charitable organization is something that should be carefully considered. Read on to learn five helpful tips for smart charitable giving.

1. Give to an Established Charity

When making a charitable donation, it is important that you properly vet any organization that is asking for money. Sadly, there are scammers out there who pose as charities in order to solicit funds from unsuspecting donors. In order to avoid being a victim of charity fraud, always ask for written information from anyone representing an organization that you are not familiar with. Reputable charities will be happy to provide you with their address, phone number, a synopsis of their mission, information about how your contribution will be used, and proof that your donation is tax deductible.

A great resource for researching charitable organizations is Charity Navigator. This website evaluates charitable organizations in the United States based on their financial health and accountability/transparency. Charities assessed by the website are rated on a scale from zero to four stars.

2. Designate Your Gift When Possible

jar of money to giveSome charitable organizations allow donors to specify exactly how their money will be used. For instance, an international aid charity may let you choose whether your gift helps feed famine victims or funds basic needs for war refugees. Designating your donation gives you more control over the impact that your gift makes.

3. Be Proactive

Rather than waiting for a charity to reach out to you, go ahead and find an organization with a mission that you believe in. Think about the issues that you are most passionate about, and then do a little research to find reputable charities that are affecting the change that you want to see in the world. Make sure that that the organizations you donate to have proven track records and targeted outcomes for their charitable work.

4. Keep Receipts of Your Gifts

After making a charitable contribution, you will want to hold onto the receipt provided by the organization until tax season. Donations to qualified charities can sometimes be claimed as tax deductions, so be sure to keep records of all the gifts you make. Please note that charitable contributions are only deductible in the year that they are made, and not all charities qualify for the charitable contribution deduction.

5. Consider Giving Your Time

man tutoring studentIf you don’t have spare cash to give to charity, consider donating your time instead. Four out of five charities report using volunteers, so there are probably a number of volunteer opportunities in your area. Whether you tutor children, serve food, answer phones, or help with fundraising, helping out a local charity can do a world of good.

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“Charitable Giving Tips.” American Bankers Association, www.aba.com/Consumers/Pages/CharitableGiving.aspx