Tips for Giving to Charity |

With the end of the year approaching, this is a great time to consider whether or not you have the ability and desire to give to charity this year. There are more needy people this year than in normal years and most organizations that provide aid to the needy are reporting that donations are way down this year compared to in past years. As a result, any giving you do this year could be more meaningful and beneficial to the organizations you support than in previous years.

To make sure you’re getting the most out of your giving and that the charities you support and maximizing their relationship with you, consider these tips before you write your donation checks this year.

– Find A Match: If you work for a large corporation, check to see if there is a matching program for donations. Some companies offer a year round matching program that you can take advantage of, but many have established programs especially for the holidays that provide employees with the opportunity to double the power of your donation. A matching program is a great way to build a sense of community with other people you work with if you’re able to pool your resources and work together to support a common cause.

– Focus Your Giving: If you have a sum of money to donate to a cause or causes that you support, one of the difficult choices you have to make is whether to give to one charity or to spread your donation among several organizations. You may want to support several charities, but the truth is that your dollars can probably go further by consolidating them and sending them to just one or two places. One of the biggest costs for charities is finding new donors and once you make a small donation to a charity, you’ll become someone that they spend time and money marketing to in hopes of future donations. Instead of giving cash to multiple charities, consider choosing some that benefit from your funds and others that benefit from your time.

– Keep Accurate Records: Charitable giving is a great way to benefit causes that you support, but it should also help you be reducing your tax bill. Without accurate record keeping though, it can be difficult to account for the giving you do. Many people give small donations throughout the year without tracking them and only report bigger donations on their taxes. One easy way to track donations is simply to create a spreadsheet that you can record your charitable giving on throughout the year.

– Be A Systematic Giver: The same principles that make people good savers can make people good givers. The bulk of donations are made at the end of the year but organizations need funding and financial support year round in order to continue operations. Consider setting up a direct deposit to one or two charities that are important to you.

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