UNITED WAY’S GUIDE TO GIVING
Start thinking about what charity you want to give to now as the holiday season draws near.
SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – October 31, 2017 – The frost on the grass in the morning confirms that winter is officially on its way! For nonprofit organizations, this means that people are starting to think about their ‘end-of-year’ contributions.
United Way understands how important it is to choose the right organization to donate your hard-earned dollars. As you prepare to make any type of charitable gift, the following is a list of things to consider during your planning process.
- View Your Donation as an Investment
Nonprofit organizations depend on donors to ‘invest’ in their charity by giving a monetary gift or by volunteering. Each year, choose to invest in a charity that will use your contribution to make a major impact on the clients they serve. Viewing your donation as an investment gives your gift the prestige that it deserves and will ensure a more meaningful experience for you.
- Research the Charities
When selecting where to give, it is important to gather all the facts. Conducting thorough research prior to giving will reassure your donation is truly helping those who need it most. Start by reaching out to friends and family that already donates to and/or volunteers for a charity. Ask them why they choose to invest and how they became connected to the organization. Their stories can be the most meaningful and you might learn something new about your loved one. If you have a specific charity in mind and you don’t know anyone personally connected with the organization, feel free to reach out to the staff. Staff of nonprofit organizations are dedicated to the services and programs their organization offers our community and can be a great resource for you to make your decision. Ask them about the impact their organization makes on the community and learn about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ operations of the organization. You will learn very quickly how your investment can ensure that they can continue to serve our community.
- Understand the Tax Benefits of Giving
An added benefit to giving is that most charitable donations are tax-deductible. To receive a tax deduction, you will need the proper documentation when filing your income tax returns. The IRS requires a receipt for each tax-deductible contribution of $250 or more. Depending on the amount or type of your gift, you may need to provide additional documents with your tax form, such as Form 8283 for each non-cash donation exceeding $500.
- Decide How You Will Give and How Much
Financial donations are the most popular charitable gifts, but there are other ways to help your favorite cause. Many organizations will accept property and goods, as well as your time. There are many options on how to give, including donating directly online, by mail, through payroll deduction or through a donor-advised fund. Additionally, find out if your employer will match your charitable gift. This will even further maximize your investment.
5. Track Your Donations
Once you have made your gift, mark your calendar with important dates of your charity’s meetings and key events for the year. These are excellent ways to see your investment at work. Also, be sure to track the dates and amounts you gave, payment methods and desired uses for your gift. You should automatically receive a receipt with an acknowledgement of your gift. If you don’t, be sure to follow up.
There are many nonprofit organizations in the area and, as the holiday season draws near, choosing a charity to give to can be a daunting task. Feel free to reach out to United Way for more information on how to make your investment the most impactful. Call 920-458-3425 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Katelyn Braun, Director of Community Development