Monday, July 8, 2013

Charity Begins at Home...& Other Thoughts...

Pic Courtesy: Google Images
I had a strange experience on my door step with a man selling magazine subscriptions for a Charitable Organization the other day. To confirm his legitimacy  he even showed me a check a neighbor had written for $50 and advised my donation to his organization would be tax deductible! 

Most of us, through out the year are approached by various charities either personally or on the telephone or through letters. The callers may want you to pledge an amount that instant. 

Financial stress has hit hard all round, both charities & donors are strapped for funds. My policy when approached thus in most cases is to ask for more information about the organization or a website where I can verify the information and choose if I deem it fit to make a donation. The above experience had me thinking about charities & donating, hence this post. 

Pic Courtesy: Google Images
Here are some tips on how to be a "Smart Giver": 

  1. Get the Charity's Exact Name.  With so many charities in existence, don't be in doubt, get the exact name. 
  2. Resist Pressure  to give on the spot, whether from a telemarketer or door-to-door salesman.
  3. Be Wary of Heart Wrenching Appeals  What is the most important issue when donating, it is whether you espouse the organization's ideas. 
  4. Always Ask For Specifics  Find out how and where the charity is working and be aware of it's goals.
  5. Check Websites  If a charity has a website, it's mission,, program & finances should be available to the general public. If not , check for a report at
  6. Check with State Officials Many states require charities to register with the office of the attorney general before they solicit. Check for the relevant office for your state. 
  7. Don't Assume Every Organization is Tax Exempt as a Charity Check here for an organization's tax exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service.  
The main reason for the above tips is not to discourage you from donating, rather it is to give you the tools to make sure those of you who give so willingly are donating to legitimate causes and to make sure your hard-earned money is going to a real charity. 

Please be sure to contact a tax professional if you need help with the above. 

As always, read my disclaimer here. Please consult a qualified tax professional for your unique tax needs. More of my contact information is on my website, 


  1. Donating funds to charity is an opportunity to put your money where your mouth is. Actions speak louder than words and investing in the work of charities can assure progress is made advancing non profit causes in which you believe.

    Knights of Columbus Insurance

  2. Yes, Daniel, that's right.There are many who donate to causes & not care for tax deductions. However, there ARE many scam artists out there that one should be wary of. I know that from experience.