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How to Become a Savvy Charitable Giver

For many people, it is important to take time to give to those who are in need.  Donating to your favorite cause can be fulfilling, but it’s also important to ensure that your gift reaches the intended source. Follow these tips to become a savvy charitable giver:

Give To An Established Charity

Unfortunately, there are fraudulent charities that will take advantage of your goodwill.  A legitimate charity will provide you with information about their mission, how your donation will be used and proof that your contribution is tax deductible. Find a charity with a proven track record for providing aid. To help in your research, visit UCBgives.com to explore thousands of non-profit organizations. Search the database to connect with organizations and causes you care about, review their mission, financial condition, and more. Then, once you find one or more that you want to support, UCBgives.com makes it simple to make and manage all your donations with a free, customized donor portal. Simply create an account to make one-time or recurring gifts, view your giving history and impact, and quickly and easily access your tax receipts when needed.  

Designate Your Gift

Some charities allow you to specify exactly where your gift is headed, either for a certain purpose, for example, to purchase school supplies, or even to a select geographic area in need of relief.  By designating or earmarking your gift, you control where your donation goes and whom it helps.

A Proactive Giver is a Smart Giver

Try not to give on an impulse or to the first organization that comes along.  Take time to identify the causes important to you first, and then contact the charitable organizations that support your passion. Find out their missions and what type of aid and programs they offer.  It’s most beneficial to work with charities that have targeted outcomes for their giving.

Benefits to You

A donor's primary motivation may be altruism, but there are also often considerable tax benefits for those who give. A donation to a qualified organization may entitle you to a charitable contribution deduction.  However, remember that a contribution to a qualified charity is deductible only in the year in which it is paid, and all charities do not qualify for a charitable contribution deduction.  Always ask for a receipt and be sure to save them for tax time.

Consider Giving Your Time & Talents

Four out of five charities report using volunteers.  Volunteers are the foundation of most charitable organizations. If you can't afford to donate money, consider donating your time and expertise.  Common volunteer duties include: stuffing envelopes, answering phones, feeding animals, tutoring, building homes, serving as a program or event attendant, counseling those in crisis, selling tickets, or even logging and sorting donations.