How to make sure your charitable donations go far this year

Sure, you could pull an Ebenezer Scrooge and wait until Christmas morning to participate in the season of giving and donate to charity. But why put yourself through the chain-rattling visits by those three ghostly apparitions when you can just open up your wallet — and your heart — right now and support the charities of your choice?

NBC News reports that December is the most popular month for donations; 18 percent of donations take place during this month. And on Giving Tuesday 2015 — which occurred on Dec. 1 — nearly $117 million in donations were raised thanks to nearly 700,000 donors.

Join the ranks of the hundreds of thousands of “givers” out there this holiday season. Here are some tips for stretching your year-end charitable donations and other philanthropic efforts:

1. Do Your Homework
Finding a charitable organization with not only a compelling mission but also a proven track record for spending their resources wisely takes a little bit of research. Fortunately, there are many excellent websites that can help you check out nonprofit organizations before you pull out your checkbook, including:

  • CharityNavigator.org
  • CharityWatch.org
  • GuideStar.org

One thing to beware of are charities that spend excessive amounts on fundraising and overhead.

2. Get Your Employer to Match You
Some employers offer to match their employees’ contributions to qualified charities as part of the employee benefits plan. Check with the human resources department to see if your employer has such a program.

But if you’re not eligible for such a matching gift program, challenge your friends and family to donate to a cause by offering to match their donations with a donation of your own. And sometimes, individual charities will have a generous benefactor who has offered to match any outside donations for a special purpose or during a specific period.

3. Volunteer for Greater Insight
If you can’t afford to write a check, give a gift of your time by volunteering for a local charity. Volunteers are the lifeblood of most nonprofit organizations, and volunteering can give you greater insight into how a charity really functions and whether it’s worthy of your financial support in the future. Plus, I guarantee you that after spending some time volunteering this holiday season to help folks who are truly needy, you can’t help but cut back on your own holiday shopping and holiday wish list.

Find volunteer opportunities near you on websites like these:

  • VolunteerMatch.org
  • CreatetheGood.org
  • Idealist.org

4. Consider an ‘Unrestricted’ Donation
Having spent nearly 25 years in my former career working in the nonprofit sector, I know that many nonprofit organizations need cash donations that come without any strings attached.

Donations earmarked for a specific program or purpose are great. But if you truly believe in the overall mission and good work of a charitable group, why not specifically give an “unrestricted gift” and let those charged with operating the organization decide how to most effectively use your donated dollars?

5. Remember That Little Gifts Can Add Up
If you want to make a generous year-end donation to your favorite charity but just don’t have the cash in the bank to cover the check, do the next best thing by setting up a small monthly automatic payment to that charity instead. Again, based on my own experience as a nonprofit professional, I know that these smaller, regularly scheduled donations can be more important to an organization’s long-term sustainability and success than single, one-time larger gifts. You’ll usually find an option to set up this type of monthly gift on a charity’s website.

6. Use Crowdfunding Websites
Online fundraising platforms like CrowdRise.com and Kickstarter.com let you tap into the generosity of your friends, family and social media networks to support your philanthropic interests. Just remember to return the kindness by reciprocating and contributing to the causes of those who support your crowdfunding campaigns.

7. Opt for Non-cash Donations
Get a jump on your 2016 New Year’s resolution about decluttering your house and life by donating your unwanted stuff right now. Charitable thrift stores often run short on merchandise during this time of year thanks to the increased demand of those shopping for the holidays and winter apparel.

And while well-known national charities — like Goodwill and the Salvation Army — often accept donations of all types of personal and household items, there are specialized charities that are looking for specific types of items, including business attire, musical instruments, sports equipment and computer hardware, to help those in need.

Smile at the Tax Man
Donating your money, stuff or time to a worthy charity will not only warm your heart, but it can result in some pretty heartwarming tax benefits as well. In general, donations to qualified nonprofit organizations are tax-deductible — at least up to certain limits — as are some travel and out-of-pocket expenses you might incur while volunteering.

Consult a tax professional, and see IRS Publication 526 for more information about the rules and how they apply to your situation.

From GoBankingRates.com: How to make sure your charitable donations go far this year

ad-high_impact_4
Business
MGM Grand Plans To Add Retail And Dining To Its Strip Facade
MGM Grand President and Chief Operating Officer Scott Sibella said executives are “discussing redeveloping that entire frontage of the building out to the Las Vegas Strip.” (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Boyd Gaming planning new corporate campus
Casino operator Boyd Gaming Corp. has filed plans to build a new corporate campus. The plans call for two 10-story office buildings and a six-level parking garage in the southwest Las Vegas Valley. Boyd Gaming operates The Orleans, the Suncoast, downtown's California Hotel and other properties. The new headquarters would be just a mile from its current main office building.
Bellagio Conservatory transformed to celebrate Year of the Pig
The Bellagio Conservatory Team transformed the 14,000 square foot conservatory to commemorate Chinese New Year, the holiday that marks the end of the coldest days of winter. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Intro uses sound to connect people
Intro, a startup that is part of the Future Worlds Accelerator in the UK, has an app that uses ultrasonic sound to find people and companies nearby.
CES 2019 Video: CES wraps up another year
Time-lapse video of the action at CES 2019 in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Create your own beauty products
Beauty Mix by BeautyByMe is a product that lets you create your own cosmetics and beauty products. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Picobrew’s home brew machine
Picobrew brings automation to homebrewing. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Surviving CES
What it's like to spend four days working the mammoth tech convention. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Haier’s smart home
Haier presented smart home technology at CES 2019.
CES 2019 VIDEO: Foldimate makes laundry day easy
Foldimate has created a machine that will fold your laundry for you. Just feed it anything you need folded and it will do the rest. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Opte device corrects skin spots
Opte from Proctor and Gamble is a device for correcting spots and freckles from skin. It analyzes the area for spots and then covers them with a serum of matching skin tone. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Circa hotel-casino in downtown Las Vegas unveiled
Derek Stevens reveals Circa hotel-casino in downtown Las Vegas. He plans open by the end of 2020. (K.M Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Circa, new casino coming to Fremont Street
Casino owner Derek Stevens announces his new property Circa, coming to Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas in late 2020. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dreenk My Oeno makes wine suggestions
At CES 2019 in Las Vegas, the Dreenk My Oeno tells you all about wine.
Polaroid One Step Plus camera unveiled at CES 2019
Polaroid has moved into the digital age with its One Step Plus camera with Bluetooth. With the connected app, it turns your smartphone into a remote for the camera, along with filters and features.
Amazon is everywhere at CES 2019 in Las Vegas
Seemingly everything works with Amazon Alexa
LG Smart Mirror helps you dress snazzy
LG’s Smart Mirror is less of a mirror but more of an assistant to help get you looking snazzy. It takes your image and recommends clothes for you or matches existing clothes with new clothes, which can be purchased right from the mirror. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Underwater robots make waves at CES 2019 in Las Vegas
Robosea is a company dedicated to underwater robotics. They produce consumer robots for underwater filming as well as commercial products which can be used for underwater research. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019 - Victrola record players spin in Las Vegas
A new spin on an old favorite, Victrola record players are meeting a demand for retro products. The brand is also making furnitures with built-in speakers.
CES 2019: Slamtec robots ready to serve
Slamtec is a robotics company out of China whose goal is to provide solutions for laser localization mapping and navigation. They have created two autonomous robots that can be used in areas such as bars, restaurants and malls. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mixologiq drink maker appears at CES 2019 in Las Vegas.
This is the Mixologiq drink maker.
CES 2019: Veritable smart garden
Let’s face it; not all of us have green thumbs. And herbs are particularly difficult to grow, considering their constant need for sunshine. Enter the Veritable smart garden from Exky, which does it all for you. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bonnie Springs Ranch near Las Vegas being sold to developer
Bonnie Springs Ranch near Las Vegas is being sold to a developer, set to close in March. Bonnie Springs, west of Las Vegas off State Route 159 — next to Spring Mountain Ranch State Park — spans more than 60 acres and was on the market for $31 million. The developer and his project partner are under contract to buy the ranch and plan to chop it up mostly into custom-home lots. The plans includes a 25-room motel, a restaurant and a 5,400-square-foot event barn.
Bone-conduction headphones form Aftershokz
Aftershokz offers bone-conduction headphones - headphones that don’t go in the ear.
CES Happy Hour party at Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace
Conventioneers mingled during the Hardware Massive CES 2019 Happy Hour Bash at The Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Autonomous Cars and Futuristic Aircraft Rule CES
Day two of CES was dominated by autonomous cars and futuristic aircraft in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
TekNekSavr fights neck problems caused by smart phones
Atiya Syverson invented the TekNekSavr to help fight neck and head problems caused by strains while typing on smart phones. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New eyeglasses know if you fall and call for help
The French company Abeye has created eye glasses that will detect if the wearer falls and call for help. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Company that creates vibrator-like device claims genders bias against CES
Lora DiCarlo is a women-run start-up that creates a vibrator-like device designed for female pleasure called the Osé. This year they were awarded the CES Innovation Award in the Robotics and Drone Category, but a month later the Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES, rescinded the award and their booth. Haddock and her team believe it is a reflection of gender bias and sexism in an industry with a long history of male domination.
CES-Wagz has new pet products
Wagz has three new products to help create better lives for your pets in a digital world. One is a collar with LTE tracking and an HD camera. Also a smart pet door that only lets your pet in and out. Lastly, a device to humanely keep Fluffy out of certain areas of your home. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like