Holiday Giving Tips
I love to give back to my community and donate my time or gifts whenever possible. Since it is the holiday season I wanted to take this opportunity to list a few holiday giving tips for those who may not regularly donate and need a little guidance
Research charities before you contribute: This is a very important first step. Make sure your contribution is going to what you want and not fundraising activities, employee salaries, or expenses that won’t directly impact what you want.
Use Online Resources: There are countless web resources to help research your choice of charities. A number of online resources can help you research charities. The Better Business Bureau and GuideStar are great resources to start with that provide detailed information about nonprofit organizations. Also. Be sure to review the organization’s own website.
Watch out for Telephone Solicitors: Telephone solicitors can be ruthless. There may even be a chance they aren’t representing who they say they are. Never give important information over the phone like your credit card, debit card, or bank account. Always ask the solicitor to put their request in writing and provide complete information about the charitable program. As a side note, it’s also worth asking if the individual is a volunteer or a paid solicitor.
Tax Deductions: If you are looking for a tax deduction make sure the organization you are planning on donating to has a tax deductible status with the Internal Revenue Service. As a side note, “Tax exempt,” “non-profit” and “tax deductible” mean something different. Even though a solicitor may claim their organization is non-profit or tax-exempt, that does not mean you can legally deduct your contribution. Ask about “tax deductible” because that is the type of service you should look for when determining a tax deduction related charity. Check the IRS website as it has a database of organizations that are eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions.
IRS Rules & Regulations: sometimes charities ask for clothing, household items, or even vehicles. Be sure to check the IRS website concerning any valuations or questions you may have as laws and rules may have changed in recent years.
Police & Fire Departments: Generally most police and fire departments are funded by tax dollars. Be wary of their unions and social organizations may solicit you for contributions. Police & fire departments typically use paid fund-raisers to solicit donations. Make sure you call your local fire or police station to make be sure that the person calling is who they say they are.
I hope all of this helps! Be sure to follow these simple tips to make sure you have the best experience when donating this holiday season. Thanks for reading and feel free to comment and share!