So, you worked out a budget, have some extra money saved up and would like to use that money for the greater good. You want to use your finances to live a more charitable life, but what does that life look like for you?
If this sounds like your situation, chances are you’re ready to find a cause worth donating to. There are lots of worthy nonprofits out there who need financial support, so how can you pick your causes to support? Today, we're here to help you learn how to choose the right charity for donating.
1. Decide on a cause you care about.
First things first: before you can donate to an organization, you have to decide what you feel passionate about. There are all sorts of different causes out there who need support. Reflect on your own life and experiences to truly consider a cause you care deeply about. Whether it’s something you or a loved one have gone through or just something you’re interested in, the more the cause matters to you, the more invested you will feel.
2. Find a nonprofit in need.
After you find a cause, check out different nonprofit organizations locally, nationally or internationally who work in that field. A New Leaf, for example, is aligned with several causes: homelessness, domestic violence, foster care, mental health, child welfare and financial literacy. Search through various nonprofit organizations to find one you can donate to which fits your passion, goals and support.
3. Research the organization’s legitimacy.
Once you have decided on an organization, be sure to research its legitimacy. Unfortunately, there are many “nonprofits” out there who may not be a nonprofit at all. Doing a quick search online is a useful way to make sure an organization is exactly what they seem. Services such as Charity Check 101 and Charity Navigator can help validate a nonprofit as well as give transparency into their operations.
4. Check out administrative expenses.
Along with legitimacy comes the nonprofit’s expenditures. Research to see where their money typically goes. All organizations need to support their staff and administration, but make sure the majority of their finances go directly towards support the clients they serve.
6. Learn about tax deductions.
After you have considered all aspects and made your donation, check out if your donation is tax deductible. For your donation to be tax deductible, the organization must be registered with the IRS as a nonprofit. Also, consider donating through the Arizona Tax Credit Program so that you can receive up to $800 in state tax credits for the year.
7. Give more than money.
Finally, remember to give more than money by volunteering and working with some of your favorite nonprofits. While donations are always appreciated and valued, getting involved and working hands-on is often an unforgettable experience, which benefits both you and the organization. Live charitably in all areas of your life by contributing your time as well.
If you’re interested in donating to a charity, make sure to examine all aspects of the organization before giving. Find a cause you care about and get involved to make a difference in the lives of those in need.