by Brandi Savitt – updates December 2, 2013
The Benefits of Giving Before December 31st
Were you planning to make a donation to a worthy cause this year but never got around to it? Well, before 2013 comes to an official close, now is your chance!
The reality of the ongoing economic crisis means that charities around the globe are suffering too. Many organizations who help the needy have found their donations significantly cut due to the recession. So, remember – just because you can’t give what you used to, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give at all. No donation of your time or money is too small – so please help keep the efforts of charitable organizations alive and thriving. Besides getting a write off on your 2013 taxes, a charitable donation in someone’s name is a totally fabulous last minute gift idea that you can actually feel good about giving!
End of the Year ‘Right’ Offs
When you donate to qualified charities you can reduce your taxable income and lower your tax bill, all while helping society. The amount of your tax savings depends on your tax bracket. For example, according to the IRS site, “If an individual with a taxable income of $50,000 donates $2000 to her church, the tax savings will be $540 — $2,000 times the taxpayers marginal tax rate of 27 percent.” In a nutshell, the tax saving usually equals the amount of the deduction times the individual’s marginal tax rate. Consult a tax professional about your personal situation, but the bottom lines is: What is good for the soul can indeed be good for the wallet!
Charity Navigator is an amazing resource that can help to get you started. Whether you prefer to volunteer your time at the local soup kitchen, help a child in need, or donate your car, Charity Navigator has vetted hundreds of organizations around the country and can help you choose which cause is best for you. They also provide fantastic tips! Check below for some interesting info from their Charity Navigators Holiday Giving Guide.
Get the Biggest Bang for Your Buck
With less charitable dollars available this year, it is critical that donations go to charities that will maximize the use of every dollar. Charity Navigator’s research shows that the most efficient charities spend at least 75% of their budgets on programs and services with the remaining 25% spent on administrative and fundraising costs. Donors should focus on supporting charities that can meet this benchmark.
How Much Does the CEO Make?
Just as Wall Street salaries have come under fire, nonprofit CEO compensation has become a lightning rod issue. Make sure your charity’s leader isn’t excessively compensated. Charity Navigator’s analysis puts CEO pay around $150,000 or 3% of expenses. Of course, in evaluating the appropriateness of a salary, donors should consider variables such as the charity’s location, size, mission and overall performance.
Speaking of bang for your buck, we are in awe of what Planting Peace can do with just a few dollars. Founder Aaron Jackson (one of the CNN
Heroes in 2007) can literally save lives with pocket change. And if you are looking for a really Fab – yet Frul – last minute gift idea, check this out: You can bring Christmas to a Haitian orphan for only $5, or provide an entire orphanage with Christmas toys and food for only $50! For more information on Planting Peace or to donate, please visit their site . They are making miracles happen in Haiti and around the world.
Marry Philanthropy & Gift Giving
In this slowed economy, many of us have less to spend on charity and consumer purchases this year. However, we can do double duty with each dollar by engaging in philanthropic shopping. Consumers that buy directly from their favorite, well-run charities, rather than purchasing cause-related products from retailers, make the biggest philanthropic impact.
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