The holidays are in full swing and that means that the giving season has also arrived. Before you donate a single penny this giving season, please consider the following tips so that you can ensure that your donation is well spent.
- Do Your Homework, For Free!
Create a free account with trustworthy websites like Charity Navigator to help ensure that the charity you intended to support is “efficient, ethical and effective.” Once you create your account you will have access to financial data and other information to help you make an informed decision on where to donate your hard-earned money.
- How Will Your Donation Be Spent?
Find out exactly how the charity spends donation by viewing their IRS Form 990. Websites like Charity Navigator lists charities IRS Form 990s. The IRS Form 990 “is the reporting form that many federally tax-exempt organizations must file with the IRS each year. This form allows the IRS and the general public to evaluate a nonprofit’s operations; it includes information on the nonprofit’s mission, programs, and finances.”
It is important to note that smaller nonprofits with gross receipts of less than $50,000 do not have to file a 990 form.*
In the 990 form you will see exactly how much a nonprofit spent within the reporting year. You will be able to see how much money goes towards the actual mission and how much is spent on other expenses such as salary and travel.
You might be surprised to see what you find out!
- Make Sure Your Donation is Tax Deductible.
While it is truly always better to give than to receive, charitable donations allow donors to give and receive at the same time. Before you donate, make sure that your donation is actually tax deductible.
It may sound shocking but while most charitable organizations do qualify for charitable deduction, not all do. There are certain organizations listed by the IRS that although they are exempt from income tax, your gift(s) to that organization will not be not tax-deductible for you.
We hope these tips help you make an informed decision on what charity to give to this holiday season. To view our 2016 Annual Report, please click here. Happy Holidays and happy giving to you!
*Smaller nonprofits with gross receipts of less than $50,000 file Form 990-N.