Feeling Philanthropic? Read This First

There are thousands of worthy causes that could benefit from a donation of your time or money. In fact, there are more than 800,000 charities in the United States alone. So how do you decide which organizations to support? Think about two or three areas or causes you want to assist, and make this your philanthropic mission. Not only will your gifts have more impact, but you also will find your giving more satisfying.

Once you have chosen a cause to which you’d like to commit, it’s time to research organizations dedicated to that issue. Here are a few of the key points to address:

The Charity’s Mission
For example, if you’re thinking of supporting an AIDS organization, find out the focus of their work. Do they help fund research for a cure, finance educational programs to foster prevention, or provide a service to people who suffer from AIDS, such as home meal delivery? Be sure the organization’s priorities are in line with your own.

How The Money Is Spent
 The American Institute of Philanthropy (www.charitywatch.org) acts as a watchdog group, each year grading hundreds of organizations on their use of funding. Note what percentage of funds are allocated to overhead and operating expenses for the organization, compared to the percentage that directly supports their stated mission. Ideally, at least 70 percent of the funds should be allocated toward program services.

Whether Gifts Are Tax-Deductible
If you want an itemized tax deduction for your gift, it must be made to a qualified tax-exempt charity, usually one that qualifies under tax code Section 501(c)(3). If the charity is not well-known, you can find out whether a charity qualifies by asking for a copy of the organization’s “exemption letter.”

WIFE.org is a charitable 501(c)(3) organization, run by volunteers. All of your tax-deductible donations are used to support our mission of providing financial education to women in their quest for financial independence. WIFE Memberships and Donations

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