Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, after black Friday etc etc…. Tuesday is the most important day. There are many organizations locally that would love your support. Check out http://wilmingtongivesback.org/ for ideas. Here are some ideas to think about while looking for charities to give too.
Check Out Your Charities Before Being Generous
Although most charities are honest and accountable to their donors, CharityWatch (formerly the American Institute of Philanthropy) says the holiday season often brings out a few “fly by night” operators ready to take advantage of your goodwill. To help you choose wisely and give more effectively, CharityWatch offers the following tips:
1. Know your charity. Charities are obligated to provide detailed information, including a mission statement and recent audited financial statements to interested donors. If a charity does not provide you with the information you request, you may want to think twice about giving to it.
2. Don’t be misled by familiar names. Some questionable charities use names that closely resemble the name of a respected, legitimate organization. Check out the charity with CharityWatch (www.CharityWatch.org) or other watchdog organizations before making a contribution.
3. Find out where your dollars go. Determine how much of your donation goes for general administration and fundraising expenses and how much is left for the program services you want to support. CharityWatch’s Rating Guide recommends that in most cases, 60% or more of your charitable donation should go to program services.
4. Do not respond to pressure. It’s your money, so don’t let yourself be pressured into contributing on the spot — or more than you want. You can always say no.
5. Beware of charities offering gifts. Direct-mail solicitations are often accompanied by address stickers, calendars or other “gifts” designed to increase donations. You do not have to make a contribution to keep these gifts, and it is against the law for a charity to demand payment for any unordered merchandise.
6. Avoid giving cash. Also, do not give your credit card number to a telephone solicitor or Internet site that you do not know. Always be sure to obtain a receipt or printed copy of your donation so you will have a record for tax purposes.
7. “Tax exempt” does not always mean “tax deductible.” Not all charities are eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions even though they may have tax-exempt status (for example, political organizations). Tax exempt means the organization does not have to pay taxes. Tax deductible means donors can deduct contributions to the charity on their federal income tax returns. Request the charity’s tax exempt letter to determine whether the organization qualifies for tax-deductible contributions. Or, use the IRS “Exempt Organizations Select Check” online tool — at www.TinyURL.com/a72f74x — to see if donations to a particular organization are deductible.