It amazes me how much mail is sent to prospective donors. Almost on a daily basis, requests arrive asking us to give — especially at this time of year. If you don’t have a plan in place, you may not be maximizing your efforts to be charitable.
Here are three important ways donors can give wisely.
- Begin by determining how much you would like to give annually and determine which organizations you are interested in supporting. This may seem like an easy task, but making sure the charities you choose to support are working as efficiently as you may like can be quite difficult. Typically, people hear about charities through personal requests or reading about the good deeds of local charities. Start by researching the mission and efficiency of many charitable organizations at www.charitynavigator.org.
- Once you have decided how much and to whom you would like to give, you should then decide by what means to supply the funds. Does it make sense to give appreciated stock? If you are over 70½, you may want to consider giving directly from your IRA. Could a Donor Advised fund be right for you? Typically when more sophisticated gifts are made, the entire lump sum is given at one time, so planning is likely essential.
- Check to see if your gifts can be matched. The idea of giving twice as much to a charity by having the gift matched seems like a no-brainer, but many people are unaware of how to do this. The answer could be as easy as inquiring with your current employer. Websites such donationdoubler.org also offer an array of opportunities. Locally in Central Pennsylvania, the Lancaster County Community Foundation sets aside $250,000 to distribute to charities based on who people give to during just one day. This year, the “Extraordinary Give” is scheduled for November 22, 2013. More information can be found at www.lancfound.org.
By planning ahead for your charitable intentions, you really can multiply your gifts!