Your Money Matters: Charitable giving tips from Lisa Dietlin

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Lisa Dietlin

Things To Consider Before Donating

Determine what you care about/where you want to give

Review all the appeals you receive

To avoid the “guilt” factor when you want to say “no” to a request for a donation, you can determine how much you are doing to donate at the year-end time frame and to what causes you are doing to make contributions

Select organizations; a lot of charities are worthy of support, but it is important for individuals to be clear about where they want their donations to go (i.e., what they want to support)

Choices have to be made…most individuals cannot give to everything they would like to support financially; choices have to be made so be clear about where you want to affect change…what do you really care about?

You can check out the charity by visiting the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance , Guidestar or Charity Navigator or talking to the organization directly

How To Donate

Donating cash is not a good idea for both security reasons and the lack of a tax record

Check is the preferred method; write the official name of the charity on the check and always ask for a receipt.

Most charities accept a donation via credit card now.  If you do it this way, be sure to keep the receipt.  If you donate online, be sure to print the receipt.

When donating items such as furniture and clothing keep detailed records for donations of things such as clothing and furniture; be sure to get a receipt that is detailed including the date, name of the organization and condition of the goods; the IRS is getting stricter about details

Donations over $250 need a receipt; call the nonprofit organization and ask for one if you don’t automatically receive it by the end of January

Keep detailed records; tax laws require a record of the transaction

To claim a deduction for charitable contributions, you need to have a dated receipt such as a cancelled check or a date credit card donation; the receipt needs to show the name of the nonprofit organization and the amount of the contribution

Last day to make a gift and receive a deduction is December 31st at 11:59 pm; you can use a credit card but the gift must be posted on or before December 31st; donation utilizing a check must have both the check and postmark on the envelope before December 31st; gifts made with securities (i.e., stock) should be given a week to insure processing

Tax deductions are a popular reason why year-end appeals are so popular; nonprofit organizations realize that in the months of November and December individuals are looking at their taxable income and seeking opportunities to reduce their tax burden

You can make a donation via email or text but be sure to keep a record of it

Apps supported/sponsored by corporations/businesses that benefit charity

Donate a Photo: For every photo uploaded, Johnson and Johnson will donate $1 per day per photo to your selected charity

Charity Miles: Corporate sponsors donate 25 cents for every mile run or walked; 10 cents for every mile biked (Humana, Johnson and Johnson, Timex Sports and Kenneth Cole)

Feedie: Visit a participating restaurant; use Feedie to take a photo of your meal; the restaurant will make a donation equal to one meal to The Lunchbox Fund

Apps on the honor system

Budge: Gone are the days of challenging your friends to a dare without consequences, this app allows you to challenge someone with commitment they will donate an agreed amount to charity if they lose; money directed to the winner’s favorite charity

Recylcle Bank – use app to track your recycling to earn points to redeem at specific companies

Educational Apps in charity world

Some apps such as Instead and Get Water! For India are educational in purpose showcasing how you can make lifestyle changes that will save money and you could them use that money to donate to charity