Times are hard right now and there are lots of people, families and animals in need of a helping hand. Charitable donations are always needed but even more so in times of crisis. With the economy as it is and many parts of our country being devastated by natural disasters, now is a great time to not only say thanks for what you have but to also give to those in need. Here is some general information on how to get started if you are interested in making donations of time, items or money.
- Give to an established charity. Find a charity with a proven track record. There are a lot of bogus groups out there that label themselves as "charities" and just take monies from unsuspecting philanthropists.
- Budget your donations. Work your donations into your monthly/annual budget just as you would any other payment.
- Keep good records. Most donations are tax-deductible but receipts are required for this. A canceled check or credit card statement for gifts of $250 or less is acceptable documentation for the IRS. For gifts over $250, a receipt from the charity will need to be provided to the IRS as proper documentation of your charitable gift.
- Volunteer! In additional to financial support, giving your time and skills to a local charity organization can be just as beneficial to the cause of your choosing.
- Consider donating unused or outgrown clothing and household items to a charity in your city. What you may see as an outdated sweater can be a source of warmth for someone who is in need.
- The website www.charitywatch.org is a great site for getting more tips on donating in addition to providing a listing of reputable charities that can use donations. Worth checking out before opening up your pocketbook.