Savvy Tips for Charitable Giving

by Galia Gichon on December 3, 2012

In my previous post, I talked about using charitable donations as part of your year-end financial checklist.  This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give for non-monetary reasons either. Today’s article focuses on making the most of the dollars you want to give away before Dec 31.

List Your Fave Charities

Sure we all like the return address labels but reasons we give are much more.  Between tax deductions, religious and plain ol’ feel good – be sure to donate before December 31st to maximize your deduction.  

Research Your Charities
Charity Navigator (http://www.charitynavigator.org/) is still my favorite site for getting detailed information about your charity.  Be sure your donation goes to a charity that has:

* At least 4 stars (the highest rating), 

* Scores at least 60 out of 70 and
* At least 90% of revenue goes towards the actual program.   
 
Hurricane Sandy Charities
This page lists charities that are accepting donations for Hurricane Sandy.  Stick to the 4 star ones only.
 
Donating Via Text
If you decide to donate via text, make sure it’s not an impulse decision and you really know the charity.  I’m not a fan and suggest holding off.
Keep Records
The charity is not always going to send you a record.  Therefore, if you donate via email, print out the receipt.  If you write a check, make a copy for your file.  Another reason not to donate via text is you do not have a record for your files, easily.
Is Your Charity “TAX EXEMPT” or “TAX DEDUCTIBLE”?
If the charity you are donating to is “tax exempt”, you may not be eligible to use the contribution as a deduction.  “Tax deductible” is what you want your charity and donation to be.

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