Making donations is one of the best ways to help others, especially those in need. It is also one of the most popular. After all, not only are there hundreds of different types of charitable organizations all over the world to donate to. Making donations is also simpler and more convenient than volunteering. It can make you eligible for tax deductions, too – if you do it properly, that is. The question is: What is the proper way of making donations?
Before you start learning about the right process of making donations, though, you have to be absolutely sure you want to make donations, first. You might want to evaluate your values and clarify your reasons for doing it, too, since this will help you make other choices later on.
For example, are you making donations because you genuinely want to share your good fortune with others or is it an investment towards a good reputation? Believe it or not, some people are just after the tax deduction, too.
Cash or Kind?
Once your personal reasons for making donations are clear to you, you can now think of what type of donations you will be making. Basically, donations are divided into two main types – cash and kind or property.
Most people choose to donate in cash since it is less complicated. In fact, all you have to do is decide on the amount of cash you will be donating and the method of your donation. All charitable organizations are likely to accept donations in cash, too, so you should have a long list of them to choose from.
On the other hand, many charitable organizations do not accept donations in kind or property, and those that do usually only accept a specific kind. If this is the case, you will have fewer charitable organizations to choose from, which can also mean you’ll have an easier choice. Keep in mind, though, that it is harder to get taxes deducted for property donations, especially since you have to do a lot more paperwork.
Choosing a Charitable Organization
The next step is to choose which charitable organization to make donations to. This is usually the hardest part of making donations. However, narrowing down your list should be easy if you consider a few factors.
The most important factor to consider is the legitimacy of the charitable organization. Remember, nowadays, many people will stop at nothing to make money, even if it means using a charitable organization as a front. In order not to be trapped in a scam, then, make sure you do a bit of research, first. In particular, make sure the organization is listed with the government. You might want to give its listed number a call, too, to verify that the organization exists and ask further questions.
While you’re at it, check the organization’s background to learn about its goals, previous projects and operating costs, as well as any complaints it has received in the past. After all, the fact that a charitable organization is legitimate doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good choice, and considering these other factors should help you narrow down your list even further.
Once you’re done with your research, the only thing left to do is ask some questions of your own, mainly which causes you prefer personally. If you have a soft spot for children, you might want to consider making donations to charitable organizations reaching out to sick, malnourished, abused and uneducated children. And if you’re more of an environmentalist, you can make donations to organizations like Green Cross, Greenpeace or the World Conservation Union.
Signing the Check
Finally, you can now go ahead and actually make your donations. To make cash donations, simply fill up a bank check then mail it to your chosen charitable organization. Never donate in cold cash since you never know where the money will end up, and remember never to give any credit card information or pay online either.
If you’re making property donations, make sure you take pictures of the items before you give them away. Don’t forget to take note of the description and value of the items, either. Most importantly, whether you’re donating in cash or in kind, make sure you get back your receipt for tax deduction purposes.
You can also make your donations anonymously if you’re not after the tax deduction or the good reputation. You can also ask someone to make the donations in your behalf. After all, what matters most is that at the end of it all, you have made a big difference in other people’s lives and hopefully, made the world a better place to live in.