Philanthropy is a great way to give back and make positive contributions to society and foster a sense of community. When making charitable donations there are many factors to consider prior to giving money to an organization. Web sites such as Charity Navigator grade various organization ranking them by several factors such as the percentage of donations that actually go to help those in need. A lot of charities spend the bulk of their money on administrative costs, such as salaries, and are not effectively utilizing donations for their intended purpose. Charities can be broken down into several categories such as health issues, educations, poverty elimination, and providing food and shelter to those in need. It is best to avoid any organization whose sole purpose is to solely raise awareness of a problem without trying to effectively change it.
People should donate the amount with which they feel comfortable on an individual basis. Many citizens believe that 10% of their earnings should be donated, with others giving more or less depending upon their situation. Everyone is different, and if money cannot be donated there are many volunteer opportunities available.
Everyone has their own unique standards and reasons for donating to a specific charity and are willing to overlook some shortfalls. One red flag for ineffective organizations is a higher percentage of funds going to administrative costs rather than action.
Local charities tend to have a higher degree of accountability due to the donors being nearby. Local charities are often more effective in obtaining positive results because they have a higher level of understanding of the community and its needs.
Many people make weekly donations and also support their churches outreach programs. When churches provide services such as feeding the hungry and volunteering their time to help others donations to these organizations can be considered charitable giving.
Donating blood is an important way to provide aid to the community but it is not technically considered a charitable donation. When a disaster strikes, many citizens will donate blood along with needed items such as clothing and blankets, and these items are considered charitable donations.
Many organizations such as Goodwill take donated items to sell in their stores. This money is in turn used for charitable programs in the community such as job training and housing for those in need. In instances such as this, giving items is most definitely a charitable donation.
Typically, refunds are not made once a donation has been given. It is important to thoroughly research a charity and the effectiveness of the work that they do in advance of giving money as once it is given it may be difficult or impossible to get back.
Usually at least a percentage of a donation is tax-deductible. When an incentive is given for the donation, such as a dinner or gift item, the tax-deductible amount will be equal to the gift minus the value of the meal or gifts received by the donor. Straight cash donations are fully deductible.