If you give to charity, there’s no margin for mistakes with the small percentage you donate each year. Money put into the right hands will power difference-making charitable campaigns, while the wrong hands won’t use your gift to its full potential. We’d argue that how you go about the donation process is about as important as the donation itself. To properly support charities around you (and help yourself at the same time), avoid these common mistakes made when donating to charities.
Only Giving at Year’s End
First off, don’t wait till the holidays to put on your generosity hat. You’d feel uncertain if you mainly lived off of a big bonus from work at the end of the year; that’s how charities feel every year. The fact that so many people donate in these later months means charities must pull out all the stops around the holidays to draw donors. January burnout, when the dust settles from this hectic time, is rife with staff burnout.
As you look to give, choose to donate monthly rather than in one lump sum. These kinds of gifts are more secure and regular, affording charities stability so they can best plan for future programs.
Not Keeping Donation Receipts
When you donate, don’t throw your receipt in the trash. Charitable gifts are one of several qualifying tax deductions, and if these exceed your standard deduction amount ($12,400 for single payers, double that for couples) you can itemize them. Itemizing essentially involves documenting all qualifying expenses (donations, medical expenses, mortgage interest, property taxes, and more) so you receive more money back than the standard deduction.
You never know how your qualifying deductions may change throughout the year, so it’s always wise to keep a record of how much you gave.
Letting Emotion Drive You
Our final common mistake when donating to charity is letting your emotions take the wheel without giving your rational self a say. Though many organizations can tell an engaging story, it’s imperative that you double-check that a charity is on the up-and-up before giving. This means ensuring they have 501(C)(3) status with the IRS and looking them up on sites such as GuideStar or Charity Navigator. Don’t rush your giving, either. If a charity puts pressure on you to do so before your mind catches up with your heart, that’s a warning sign.
With these tips, we’re hopeful you can enact lots of good change with your gifts. Though monetary donations are great, Backpacks USA supplies all kinds of tangibles that are perfect to give, too, ranging from bulk totes and backpacks to hygiene kits.