A Helping Hand: Tips on Donating to Charity

There are a variety of different charities that require individuals and for profit businesses to lend a helping hand. Some people have favorite charities, while others do not. In any case, it is always good to give back whenever possible.

When planning to make donations, first decide on the type of charity you’re most interested in, or the one that is near and dear to your heart.

They are different forms of donations, including cash donations, gifts in kind and volunteering, all of which could be made on an ongoing basis, or as a one time contribution. Donations to charities are also tax deductible.

TYPES OF CHARITIES

Although there are various forms of nonprofit organizations and charities, most of them fall in one of five major categories, including: 1) Churches and Religious Organizations, 2) Political Organizations, 3)Public Benefit Organizations, 4) Mutual Benefit Organizations and 5) Private foundations.

TYPES OF DONATIONS

There are various ways to make contributions to charities, including cash donations in-kind-gifts and volunteer work. Below provides more details of each.

Cash Donations

Cash donations are the most common form of contribution made to charities. They can be made online or in person when individuals come in direct contact with the charity.

Gifts In-Kind

Gifts in-kind has to do with tangible items that are donated to charities; mostly items related to the organization’s programs. Such donations offset some of the normal operating costs. Sample gifts in-kind include items such as clothing, cars, furniture, computers, equipment, land or real estate.

On-going Donations

You may consider donating to charities on an ongoing basis. This allows the organization to rely on your donation. Some on-going donations are done in the form of a pledge. When this happens, it helps nonprofits with their financial projections and budgeting.

One Time Donations

One time donations are often as a result of an impromptu action, where someone reacts to either an ad or something else that brought an awareness to the cause.

VOLUNTEERING

Other ways to make donations to charities consist of volunteering or donating your time. This normally takes place in two primary ways: 1) Pro Bono and 2) General Volunteer Services. Each are described below.

Pro-Bono

Although pro-bono is a form of volunteering, it has more to do with donating services in a professional’s primary line of work or by utilizing their primary skill set. An example of that would be an attorney providing legal services for a nonprofit organization, or a CPA donating accounting services.

General Services

General volunteerism consist of donating services wherever they are needed, such as helping out in a soup kitchen, helping with a fundraising event, creating brochures or other services related to the organizations normal day-to-day functions.

Most Board of Directors render services to the organization with no pay, which could also be a form of volunteerism.

CLAIMING TAX WRITE OFFS

Charitable donations are tax deductible. Please consult with your tax planner for more information if you plan to lend a hand or donating to a charity.

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