Year-End Giving 2014
Hard to believe that 2014 is wrapping up in a few short days. Many of us are just getting over thinking about gifts to buy our loved ones for the holidays. But there is more giving to be done in most cases by December 31. Here are some tips to think about as you prepare for your annual year-end giving.
According the CharityNavigator.org, there are five tips to follow when trying to decide where to give your money at year’s end. There are always the charities and causes that are near and dear to each person’s heart. But if you want to explore additional charities, here’s what to keep in mind:
1. Follow your philanthropic passions.
If you have an emotional connection to a cause, stick with it. Pick a non-profit that is in alignment with your values and goals. Once you find that charity, make sure that the programs and services follow those values and goals.
2. Ensure the charity is efficient, ethical and effective.
The CharityNavigator.org website has a very effective rating system to see if the charity of your choice is fiscally responsible, accountable and if the charity is keeping on track with its goals. Look up your charity to ensure that they are spending your donation money wisely on programs and not unnecessary overhead.
But what if the charity you love is not listed on CharityNavigator.org? Charities have to be a certain size in order to be listed there. That leaves many of the local charities out. Ask your friends and neighbors about their charities and why they give to them. You can ask your charity for copies of their IRS form 990. It’s required by the IRS and public record. If you feel squeamish about asking right out for it, you may be able to view it at Guidestar.org.
3. Recognize that 100% of your gift generally cannot go toward the charity’s programs.
Charities still need to operate as any other for-profit business does. They have rent, utilities, postage, administrative costs, etc. Charities need the operating dollars as much as program dollars. BUT, it is important to make sure that the charity is not spending too much on those operation costs. According to CharityNavigator, “Focus on supporting efficient charities that have a reasonable level of overhead (ideally at least 75% of their budget to programs and services, 15% on administration and 10% on fundraising) while also bearing in mind that results should be the primary measure of effectiveness.” If you find a charity that spends more than 75% of it’s budget on programs and services, you’ve got a good one!
4. Share your intentions and make a commitment.
Let the charity know your intentions! The love to know who their partners are. And share your intentions and commitment with others. That’s how true change and charity works.
5. Follow your investment.
Your donation is an investment. Don’t just let your money go into the charity and not follow it. Check out the charity’s progress report. It means so much more if you can see how your money is being spent. Charities love to know you care and not by just giving your hard-earned dollars. Share your passion with them and stick to it.
What is your charity of choice?
We’d like to hear how you like to give at year’s end. We invite you to share your cause with your Hidden Hills neighbors. Email us at email@example.com and we’ll share your Charity of Choice.