Posts Tagged ‘charitable donation’

Do Your Due Diligence – Give Well

coins stacked up in pilesSo many of us are staring the Tax Man down in these last weeks running up to April 15, and one of the deduction categories I am always wishing my wallet would allow me to use more is Charitable Contributions. I was able to donate more in 2015 than in some previous years, but wish I could support every race, walk, dance-a-thin, head shaving event, GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and volunteer gig that every one of my friends undertakes as well as the many issues and organizations to which I am already loyal.

When you are donating to a good cause, especially if it is new to you (or one you think you’ve understood for a long time…witness trouble with some of the largest charities in our country and how much of their donated money actually goes toward their mission), do you dig in a  little and find out more about them before you hit the digital PAY button or write your check? Please do–it is easier than ever to get the skinny on charities and non-profits.

One terrific tool to use is the online site GiveWell.com. Give Well is like other charity scoring organizations, but perhaps a bit more faceted and nuanced than the review sites that simply break down dollars toward overhead, administration, and service. Give Well focuses on a more modest number of charities for its examination—the ones they feel are most likely to succeed and best accomplish their mission. Then they take a deep dive and ferret out how an organization does on many levels, not just spending, but how they genuinely impact the world. Their analysis is evidence-based and thoroughly vetted, inclusive of open and transparent conversations with the organization themselves (instead of coming from a secret shopper separate status). Site visits and interviews with stakeholders mean the heart-driven business of a non-profit is not judged like a high schoolers GPA–numbers alone rarely tell the story we care most about–but on real change.

Check out the site, discover something new to engage your passion, and share what you find! We’d love to hear about what fires you up in the comments below.

#GivingTuesday the Best Holiday

banner for Giving TuesdayHas your credit card been getting a workout this past week? OK–we made it through Black Friday, and Cyber Monday…a somewhat treacherous (to your wallet) path, but today you have arrived at the pinnacle event: GIVING TUESDAY. This one matters more than the others.

As a follow up to the rampant purchasing of STUFF, today, Giving Tuesday, has been designated as a time to give to those less fortunate than yourself. It is a campaign to create a NATIONAL DAY OF GIVING at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations. We had our day for giving thanks, a few days for getting deals, now it’s a day for giving back. It’s not just big organizations that are behind it, small, grassroots charities drive the engagement and power behind the movement. There are #GivingTuesday campaigns in countries all around the world, with thousands of partners with special initiatives and projects tied to this day, so it is super easy for you to get involved. Choose your favorite cause and give: time, money, both (or a commitment to show up and volunteer soon)…then spread the word…be audacious and vocal about your good deeds, it will inspire others. If you let us know what inspires you most and who you support, it helps us discover new gems we might embrace in our own charitable giving–and THAT is how you spread a movement!

Make Your Tax Refund Tax-Deductible

taxcheckWhew. Did you finish? Get those taxes into the mailbox yet? As I’m writing, you’ve still got a few hours left, but not many. April 15 can be a real son of a gun for many of us as we gather piles of paper and reports around us that get scattered a few times by the breeze or a cat or dog or kids or our occasional fits of temper…but eventually we muddle through some ten-ninety-something form and stand in line at the post office, muttering that we’ll never put it off until the last minute again.

So, Forbes tells us the average tax refund this year is about $3,000 and more than 90% will be processed in less than 21 days. Ready for a wacky thought? Donate that money to charity. Don’t wait until December to give to organizations that have your passions and interests at heart. Everybody waits until the end of the year, which makes the rest of the calendar uncomfortably lean for most non-profits.

You probably didn’t budget the refund money since you couldn’t plan well until you did the paperwork to find out how much it would be…and while extra cash flow never hurts…you did OK so far this year without additional infusions of dollars. It could make a beautiful addition to your wardrobe, or a fun entertainment splurge, or that widget you’ve been eyeing that nobody got you from your gift list last December…but it could also mean less empty stomachs for some kids, or life-saving malaria nets, or an endangered species being better protected, or a school being built, life-saving medical care or medicines, a creative endeavor being realized, a teacher not having to empty their own wallet to get supplies in the classroom, a safe source of drinking water or hygiene. The list is as diverse as we are, but the commonality is that it could be YOU that makes a difference. You can’t solve every problem by throwing money at it, but you can help those who have boots on the ground working tirelessly every day in our stead while we have to go on with our lives, keep on working. A truly helpful charity closing down because of lack of funds is tragic, and it happens all the time.  Giving is low, need is high, and not every organization will make it until December when people loosen up their own pursestrings and get more generous for good causes.

Think about it, when that multi-colored check comes from Uncle Sam. You could turn it around right away and put it to work making our world better. It would be huge, and, it would be tax-deductible for next year’s return.

Get a receipt!