Do you constantly get letters or emails asking to donate for a certain cause?Do you often delete these emails or trash the letters you receive because you’re overwhelmed or not interested? If you have done one or more of those things, you’re certainly not alone!
There are MILLIONS of charitable organizations around the world to choose from, but how do you find one or more than one to donate to?
Giving away money isn’t something that comes very easily to people, especially when you have bills of your own to pay, kids to send to school, groceries to buy and the occasional treat for yourself or your family. Finding some extra funds to donate to a worthy cause can be daunting.
We’ve come up with some helpful tips to help you decide if donating to a charity is right for you, and how to choose the right one, or several!
- Think about a cause that really matters to you. Do you have rescue animals in your home that you care about? Do you have family members that are part of a charitable organization that is important to them? Is there a disease or environmental cause that you feel passionate about? Write down some of these important issues or make it a family event, have everyone write down a few things that they think are important.
- Research! There are MILLIONS of charitable organizations to choose from. Make sure you research each one that you are looking at and make sure it’s a good fit for you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to these organizations with questions or concerns.
- The IRS has a tool that helps you verify if an organization is tax-exempt. You may want to check this before you make and donations that you plan on filing a tax-exemption* for.
- Another great resource to use when researching charity organization is Charity Navigator, which allows you to see the organization’s financial health and many other factors that may play into your decision. Charity Watch is also a great resource, which rates charities based on several factors.
- Focus your donations. Say you want to contribute to your church, but you specifically want to donate to their youth group activities. Call and ask questions whether you can have your donation go directly to a certain group within a larger organization. Many people don’t know that it’s possible to donate to a specific group within a larger organization. You can do the same with universities and other larger charities.
- Decide how much and how often you want to contribute. This can be a difficult decision, especially since we mentioned earlier how bills and personal finances can be restrictive. Start out with a number that is very reasonable for your budget, and you can always add to it or increase the amount during certain times of year such as Holidays or after a bonus at work.
- Giving to charity might not necessarily mean giving money. If funds are tight and your budget doesn’t allow for financial contributions, you can always donate canned goods that you aren’t using, clothing, furniture or other household items to local organizations that need them.
Whether you choose to donate to wildlife preservation, disease research, children’s causes or local organizations, you are making a difference no matter what. We hope that this article helps you and your family find a cause that’s important to you!
*If you’re unfamiliar with how a Charitable Donations Tax Deduction works, here are some quick facts. For more detailed information, the IRS has a helpful page designed to answer many questions regarding charitable donation deductions.
- If you have made a donation to a nonprofit organization, you are eligible for a charitable donation tax deduction on your tax return. However, you must make sure you file this appropriately!
- Cash or property are the only donations that qualify.
- The organization must be a tax-exempt organization. Use the IRS tool we mentioned earlier to check this first!
- You must keep track of donations and keep all records. If your donation is more than $250, you will need documentation to receive tax-exemption benefits.
- Keep records of cash donations.
- Important information for your records would be: the name of the organization, date of your donation and amount of your donation.
- The maximum limit for cash donations to charity is 50% of your gross income.