Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Tips from the Treasurer: Charity List

Years ago, I realized that I had given more than I had planned to several of the charities I support.  Many of these NFPs (Not-For-Profits) send out multiple mailings, some even monthly.  I wasn't keeping track.  

Now I save all the renewal letters,  sit down in January,  and write checks (or go online) to most of the organizations I donate to.  I have a spread sheet that lists all the organizations.  The list includes the donations I've made in the past, this year's donation, the check number, and the date.  There's a section for monetary donations to NFPs and a section for in-kind donations (food donations, Goodwill, mileage for volunteer work, school supplies).  

There's a third section for non-tax deductible donations.  This would include organizations that work for political causes: Greenpeace, political parties, ACLU, WREA, SPARTA.

The rules for getting credit on your taxes have changed, but that's only one reason to keep track of your giving.  The bigger one for me is that I give what I budgeted.  That doesn't preclude me from giving extra as the year progresses, but just helps me keep track of what I've given so far.

This list is updated as the year moves forward.  Some people prefer to do this at year's end, when many organizations are trying to balance their budgets.  They can also count the donations on the current year's taxes.

It's a good idea to run the charities you support through Charity Navigator 

Charity Navigator does an excellent job of reporting which organizations are utilizing your money most effectively.  For example, Doctors Without Borders has earned 4 stars, and has a 93.5 out of 100 score for financial  and accountability/transparency.  Charity Navigator offers a great deal of data on each organization it rates.  






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