Charitable Giving: Your Dollars or Your Time?

Many Clarity Wealth clients make it a priority to give generously to charitable organizations,
non-profits and causes that align with their passions. Do you wonder how much of your gift is going to where you want or expect it to? When you donate to a charity or cause, consider the following before making your donation:

  1. Know your goals when planning to donate to a charity or cause. Think about the impact you want your donation to make. If you have a specific organization in mind, think about where, within the organization, you want your dollars to be used. For instance, if you want to donate to the Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation, you can earmark your dollars towards a specific activity or initiative, such as global measles prevention or Canine Companions for Independence. Such planning can make donating more rewarding and can really help in moving the needle for a particular cause.
  2. Do your research. Unfortunately, many charities have high administrative costs and overhead. So, your donation might be paying salaries, rent, marketing and fundraising costs and other administrative costs. If you want your dollars going only to the victims or causes you’re trying to help, think about making donations only to charities that fund your those directly. You can research charities using Charity Navigator to see how transparent a charity is with regard to how and donations are applied.
  3. Expand your search for other charities. If you don’t have a specific charity in mind but you have a goal or specific passion, like helping victims after a major disaster, check out Great NonProfits. They can help narrow your search to be sure your dollars are going to the just the right cause.
  4. Be tax efficient when giving. Giving money is always a great way to give. However, if you want a more tax efficient way to donate, consider donating shares of stocks or mutual funds. That way, the charity will get the full amount of your donation and you and the charity may avoid paying capital gains taxes on the sale of the securities. Your financial advisor can help you think through and then help you with your charitable endeavors and may even offer some alternative approaches that can make a bigger impact for the organization you support.
  5. Be Hands On. Volunteering can be even more rewarding than donating money. If you have time in your day or your employer encourages and supports you doing community service, check out Volunteer Match. They can match your skills with organizations and causes that may need people more than they need money.