With its family traditions and festive celebrations, the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year. And according to GivingTuesday.org, giving in the U.S. alone totaled $2.7 billion to nonprofits and community organizations on #GivingTuesday in 2021, a 6% increase from 2020.
Unfortunately, despite the greatest of intentions, many will inevitably make mistakes in how they give, especially if they wait until the last minute. So, here is a list of things for you to think about as you consider your year-end charitable donations.
Make a Plan
Ideally, at the beginning of every year, you should map out a plan to maximize the tax benefits of your giving with your tax professional. Really think through what is important to you and what you want to support. Is it an organization that supports literacy? Or provides food? Or shelter for families? Creating a plan will help you be less reactive and feel less boxed in when friends ask for your charitable support.
Research Your Charity
It’s easy to get fooled by a charity’s name so you need to do your homework. Beware of scam artists pretending to represent an organization that doesn’t exist. Read a charity’s financial statements to see how they spend their (your) money. Even better, volunteer before you write a check.
If you have owned stock for more than a year and it has appreciated, don’t sell it first and then give the cash to charity. Those appreciated assets can be donated directly to charity without you or the charity incurring capital gains taxes (consult your tax professional to be sure).
Selling Your Personal Info
Ask for A Receipt
Remember, for charitable contributions of $250 or more, you need a donor’s acknowledgment letter. Generally, it’s a good idea to obtain receipts, especially when donating goods.
Shockingly, a whopping 12% of all giving occurs in the last 3 days of the year! But if you mail a check postmarked after December 31st, then you might run into trouble. Make it easy on yourself and don’t wait until the last minute.
Money Can’t Buy Happiness, But Maybe Donating to Charity Can?
Consider research from the Harvard Business School study “Prosocial Spending and Happiness: Using Money to Benefit Others Pays Off,” which found:
- Spending money on other people has a more positive impact on happiness than spending money on oneself
- Spending more of one’s income on others predicted greater happiness
Discuss with Your Financial Professional
If you have any questions or need help mapping out your charitable plan, set an appointment to discuss it with your financial professional.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.
This article was prepared by RSW Publishing.
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