Making contributions to charities is a win-win for the recipient as well as for the giver — who not only gets the satisfaction of helping, but can also take a tax write off. Kimberly Hazen with Wisconsin Better Business Bureau says it’s important to do your homework before giving your hard-earned money.
“It’s a good idea to talk to your tax adviser about that. Then also, checking with the charity itself to make sure this is, indeed, a 501(c)3 charitable organization that will be able to give you a tax deduction.”
Hazen advises potential donors to find out what percentage of the contribution is going toward administrative costs. She says there are legitimate expenses to running a charity, but about two-thirds or more of your donation should go to the actual mission.
Also, be wary of scams. Check out the organization before giving to make sure it’s respectable … and then safeguard yourself, just in case. “Don’t give cash. Don’t give when you’re feeling pressured. A donation with a credit card will give you a little added protection in case it’s not the organization you thought it was going to.”
Don’t give in to pressure, Hazen says, a reputable charity wants you to feel comfortable with your donation. Also, don’t let your emotions get the best of you. As Hazen puts it, “You don’t want to give until it hurts; you want to give until it feels good.”