How To Give Back
Non-profit charitable organizations play a vital role in our lives. They fund vital research that saves our lives; they care for us when we are ill or need help. They provide educational opportunities, which allow us to learn. They allow us to experience art and music, which enrich our lives.
Yet in order to help others, to make a real difference, charities depend on public donations to operate their programs. More than 80% of the money raised by charities in this country comes from individuals. Faced with an aging population, and an increasing need for services and research breakthroughs, charities are responding like never before. To help you make wise giving decisions, the Council of Better Business Bureaus offers some tips:
Do not give cash. Write out a check to the charity’s full, official name.
Keep records of your donations (receipts, canceled checks and bank statements), so you can document your charitable giving at tax time. Since 1994, the IRS has also required that donations of $250 or more be substantiated through a written receipt from the charity; the cancelled check alone will not be sufficient for tax purposes.
Look at the name carefully. Some charity names sound the same. There are many charities raising funds for similar causes. If you are unsure, ask the charity to send you more information on its programs and finances.
Check out the organization with the local Charity Registration Office (usually a division of the state Attorney General’s Office) and with your Better Business Bureau.
There are hundreds of organizations within your area that need your help. Most gifts are tax deductible. Many charities offer volunteer opportunities as well. By giving, whether it is time or money, you will be helping to make the world a better place. We urge you to participate.