Donating to charity is noble and gives great satisfaction. Taking time to donate clothing, cars, and furniture benefits the environment. The most common donations are money given to organizations of helpful causes. The first rule of thumb in making a cash donation is via check or credit card.
The second payoff of donating to charity is a tax benefit for you. That’s why each year about one-third of all donations occur in December. Aside from the other benefits, there is the personal satisfaction of helping others. There is nothing quite like the feeling of making a difference in someone else’s life. If end-of-the-year activities have you scrambling, use the following guide to donate on a regular basis.
Choosing the Right Charity
First of all, become familiar with a charity’s mission before you donate. Be wary of vague and lofty claims. These claims may include phrases like “to feed starving children worldwide.” Make sure to get specifics that are real. Be sure to search for detailed programs and descriptions on the charity’s website. If you find no website, it’s best to choose another organization.
Explore the ways a nonprofit organization operates. This research include past achievements. It also includes how those requesting help or services qualify to receive it. If a charity is legitimate, it will list these specifics. Sometimes the information is scant or lacking. In this case, try contacting the program manager. If the manager can’t provide facts and figures, choose somewhere else to donate.
Related: Which Charity Should I Donate To? | Kyani
Check the Charity’s Non-profit Status
Non-profit status means the charity has a 501(c)(3) designation by the IRS. This status mean donations are for charitable purposes only. A 501(c)(3) designation is also what makes your donation tax-deductible. Groups that have a 501(c)(3) designation must make financial information available to the public. These organizations have strict regulations on how much they can spend to lobby the government. You can check the status of a non-profit group online at Guidestar.org, a nonprofit database. Type in the name of the organization. But, if nothing comes up, move on because your gift may not be tax-deductible.
Related: Donating to Charity | USA.Gov
Find Out About Results
The most effective organizations use self-assessments. Yet, some organizations use other ways to measure their success. Request the most recent assessment from the charity. Organizations often offer third-party evaluations. If a charity is new, they may not have a track record. It’s okay to give them a chance if all the other criteria meet your expectations.
Related: What to Consider When Making Charitable Donations | Real Simple
Donating to charity is usually a win-win situation for everyone. And, if you do it especially well, can be a great way to build a brand through social impact. So, by following the above guidelines, you ensure some things. You don’t get scammed. Those who donate reap the benefits of a tax deduction. Also, you feel good about yourself for making a difference in the world. Maybe the most important win is that you are helping others have a better life.