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Should You Be Charitable?
July 24, 2017
There are 1.5 million charities in the United States and 45 million Americans living in poverty. Last year, Americans gave $389.05 billion to charities. Many people give to charities to make a positive impact on a need or cause they believe is worthwhile in order to help make a difference. This type of philanthropy has be an integral part of society, creating and sustaining art institutions, protecting the environment, assisting human services organizations, advocating for animals and much more.
To help you decide if you should be charitable, you need to do some research. First of all, you need to consider the effectiveness of your charity before you donate. Find a cause that matters to you. There are various charities out there that support wonderful programs that benefit women & children, animals, the environment, arts & culture, health charities, and international non-governmental organizations. The next thing you need to decide is if you can afford to donate financially to the charity. If not, you can always donate your time and work for the charity, if you cannot afford to donate financially.
If you plan on donating financially, consider these factors before donating you money.
What is my charitable plan?
You should create a charitable plan before donating your time or money. Your plan should focus on clear, measurable goals, steps to achieve them and an end result you would like to achieve through your charitable giving. This plan should act as a measure of progress against your goals as well as provide you with a purpose for your giving.
Who should I involve in my philanthropy?
Decide who you want to include in your philanthropy and to what extent, as well as how they will affect your goals. Effective communication is critical to successful philanthropy. You will need to establish expectations and have an open mind as things change. Discuss what will happen as things change and create a dialog to address charitable issues. Determine your charitable assets when you pass and how to ensure your charitable intentions are honored.
How to evaluate & monitor what charity to support?
Review the charity’s IRS tax status, financials and governance standards. Understand how the charity spends money, its track record for success and who makes important decisions. You need to decide whether you want your donation to go to a specific project or the discretion of the charity. Check in with the organization’s progress after you donate. Speak with the nonprofit representatives and monitor results.
Does your charity fit into your financial plan?
You need to be able to afford to give your money away to a charity. If you have the ability to donate financially, be strategic. You need to know when and what to give enables you to appropriately diversify an existing portfolio, minimize tax repercussions and optimize giving. People in serious debt should not consider donating their money to charity. If you cannot afford to donate your money, consider donating your time.
If you cannot afford to donate to a charity, you can give your time. Many charities report that they use volunteers, it is hard to imagine where the philanthropic community would be today if it wasn't for the help of these altruistic individuals. Volunteers perform a variety of tasks for charities. For example, a volunteer might stuff envelopes, feed animals, tutor children, build houses, serve as a museum docent, counsel those in crisis, sell tickets or just answer the phone. At the highest levels, volunteers serve on the board of directors and are charged with the crucial task of governing the organization. So even if you do not have the money to donate, you can still support a wonderful program that benefits that cause you you like to support.