Source: Independent Sector – www.independentsector.org
- Budget for giving.
Plan your philanthropic activities right into your budget just as you would other financial obligations.
- Be an informed giver.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you’re asked to give, including the specific name of the solicitor and his or her relationship to the organization, how much of your gift will be used for overhead, the specific project the money will go toward, and other important information.
- Keep the right records.
For gifts of less than $250, a canceled check or credit card statement is sufficient for IRS requirements. For larger gifts, you’ll want to get a properly worded receipt from the charitable organization as a confirmation of your tax—deductible contribution.
- Be aware of how much is really tax deductible.
If you receive a premium in exchange for your gift (such as a book or a dinner), the amount of your tax deduction is reduced by the fair market value of the premium. You can turn down the incentive item if you wish to claim a deduction for the full amount of your gift.
- Ask about matching gifts.
Many employers match gifts made by their employees or make grants to organizations recommended by employees.
- Remember, your gift can be confidential.
If you prefer to have your gift remain confidential, you should let the organization know. You can expect the charitable organization to honor your request.
- Consider alternative forms of giving.
Don’t overlook the benefits to you and your cause received from bequests, charitable gift annuities, gifts in kind, endowments and many other creative forms of giving.
In addition to financial support, consider giving your time and skills.
- Don’t forget you have the right to say no.
Give generously when you can, but if you’re unsure or feel uncomfortable don’t be afraid to say no or, ask for more information and take more time to think before making your decision.
- Be a proactive giver!
Plan a giving strategy in advance. Contact the charitable organizations of your choice to discuss how your gifts can be most effectively used and help make a difference in your community.
Network for Good – www.networkforgood.org/donate
BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance – www.give.org/tips/giving.asp
Charity Navigator – www.charitynavigator.org/
American Institute of Philanthropy - www.charitywatch.org