Saturday, 6 November 2010 22:59
Charitable organizations are created to encourage people to give, and to pool those donations so that they can have a greater impact collectively than they’d be able to accomplish on their own. Many charities are nationally known organizations, while others serve smaller local needs. If there’s a cause you believe in, or an area in which you’d like to make a difference, there’s probably a charity that’s perfect for you.
Check groups out.
While the vast majority of charities are legitimate, there are some people who use phony charities as a means to steal. That’s why it’s important to know the group to which you plan to give. If you’ve never heard of it, take steps to learn more about it by checking websites such as give.org that alert donors to possible scams. Legitimate charities are willing to provide proof and independent references, so that you can give confidently. If an organization is unwilling to provide evidence or seems evasive, be careful.
You want to help as much as possible, but you don’t want your generosity to create financial trouble for you. Set a budget for giving and identify the causes that matter most to you. That way, you’ll be less tempted to give too much or to give to organizations that aren’t as important to you. Don’t assume that you have to give to everyone who asks.
While most organizations focus on raising money, many will also welcome non-cash donations. Some groups will take donations of furniture you no longer want for families that need it. Many charities welcome donations of used cars, which they turn around and sell to raise money. And most organizations particularly appreciate donations of time through volunteer work. If there’s an organization you’d like to support, ask them what they need.
Finally, if you itemize taxes, most donations to charities are deductible from your income, so your generosity to others means you’ll reap a financial reward, too. Just be sure that you follow the rules and obtain proof of your donation.