Friday, 07 December 2012 12:50

Where and How to Give This Holiday Season by Michael Omidi

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At No More Poverty we want to provide you with the information you need to help charities of real value, which is why we are providing this end of year giving guide, which includes tips directly from the IRS on how to give responsibly.

According to Charity Navigator, a leading website that provides impartial statistics and information on charities to assist the general public with “intelligent giving,” 41% of annual contributions from individuals go to various charitable organizations between Thanksgiving and January 1st. This means that many of you will be looking to give during this time of year and we want to help you do so responsibly.

Deciding Where to Give
Many people give to organizations that support causes that are near to their heart, while others are more interested in providing assistance to a charity they know will make a significant impact. In the New York Times article “Putting Charities to the Test,” Tina Rosenberg cites an example of both factions from an essay by Toby Ord, a leading researcher in moral philosophy at Oxford University.

Some people feel that providing assistance to an organization that trains seeing-eye dogs for the blind is an exceptionally worthy charity, despite the fact that training of the dog can cost as much as $42,000. For others they feel that the impact of their personal donation is lost on such a cause and could be better served by a charity such as Helen Keller International, which provides eye surgery to the impoverished of Africa suffering from trachoma. Helen Keller International can provide the surgery at a total cost of $25 per patient, which means any financial donation would make a significant impact.

While neither charity is more important than the other it is a question of which you feel you would prefer giving to. Doing your research on the charity with the help of the Better Business Bureau and Charity Navigator will help you decide which organization you feel is the most effective.

How to Give
The IRS has just released a guide to holiday giving as it pertains to your taxes. Here are some of the suggestions they have provided:
Qualified Charities – In order to deduct charitable donations from your taxes you will need to make sure that the charity you donate to has 501(c)(3) status. IRS.gov provides an Exempt Organizations Select Check tool in order to determine if the charity you intend to give to qualifies for deductions.
What You Can Deduct – Typically you can deduct fair market value on any property you have donated as well as any cash contributions, though some donated property such as clothing, cars or boats, and household items have special rules that are applicable.
Keeping and Compiling Records – Regardless of the amount make sure that you keep records of any charitable donations that you intend to deduct such as receipts, cancelled checks, or financial statements. Make sure that they are compiled in a safe place that is appropriate for the amount of personal information contained in the documents.

Don’t Forget…
Financial contributions are not the only way to support your favorite charities or causes; many organizations see a significant influx in volunteerism during the holidays, but after the New Year they desperately require volunteers until the holidays come back around.

There are many amazing charities that could use your help year-round and especially into the spring and summer months. Don’t forget to provide support to the organizations you feel are important throughout the year.

Julian Omidi and I hope that this guide will help you in your charitable giving this holiday season.

Read 1872 times Last modified on Thursday, 31 January 2013 18:43

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