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Smart Charitable Giving For Savvy Donors

‘Tis the season when many people start thinking about charitable giving for the holidays. There are a lot of organizations clamoring for your hard-earned money. Use these handy tips to ensure you’re making the best decisions when it comes to doling out charitable gifts.

Seek out an established charity.Especially in times of crisis or disasters, charities seem to pop up out of nowhere in response. A good check that an organization is established is that it has at least been approved for tax purposes as a non-profit. Ensure charities are registered as tax-exempt with 501(c)(3) status (check for “EO Select Check” to verify that an organization is registered as exempt).
Research the charity in question.Consider your gift a financial investment and conduct due diligence before deciding how to invest it. Check out sites like and, which have done a lot of the work by vetting organizations based on criteria like financial stability, funding, transparency, and ethical practices.
Give an unrestricted donation. Once you’ve established the organization handles its funds well, consider giving money that isn’t earmarked for a specific effort. This gives the charity freedom to decide how to use the gift (and lets it decide what is most helpful).
Look for a matching gift. Find out if your place of employment, church, social club, or a neighborhood business is currently offering to match financial gifts to certain charities. Taking advantage of a matching effort helps the donation go even further.
Consider tax benefits. Generally, donations of cash and property to qualified non-profit organizations equaling $250 or more are tax deductible. These donations must be made no later than December 31 of the year in which the deduction is claimed.