organization requesting money is the best facilitator of the cause you want to support. To find out how they’ve used donations in the past, check their Website and request their most recent financial statement. If you don’t know which organizations support the causes you’re interested in, check the National Database of Nonprofit Organizations at www.guidestar.org for more information.
BE FLEXIBLE ABOUT THE METHOD OF GIVING
You may find that different methods of giving work better under certain circumstances. You don’t always have to give cash; you can also give stock or other assets. In order to make a decision, you’ll need to factor in your current financial status, your long-term commitment to giving, and your desire to support certain organizations. Creating a private foundation may also help you pass on wealth to future generations. But unless you plan to start one with several millions of dollars, you won’t get the maximum benefit and you will be responsible for a substantial amount of administrative work and expense.
MAXIMIZE TAX BENEFITS OF GIVING
Since most charitable gifts are tax deductible, you are eligible for an immediate tax deduction. Tax laws change every year, so make sure you know all the rules. For guidance on what is deductible and what isn’t, start with IRS Publication 526, Charitable Contributions (you can download it at www.irs.gov/ pub/irs-pdf/p526.pdf).
Be sure to consider donating appreciated assets, such as stock and real estate, for tax savings. This allows you to receive the full market value of the asset as a tax deduction, avoid capital gains taxes, and remove highly valuable assets from your taxable estate.
It’s amazing what a little saving can do.