When it comes to charitable donations, you’ll want to keep detailed records of cash donations you hand out. Keeping records affords you the affirmation that you supported your favorite organizations and fulfill any outstanding pledge amounts. Plus, it allows you to escape from a nagging, regret-induced headache if a beloved cause’s donation gets overlooked at year-end. Here are eight practical tips from our team of personal finance experts, especially if you plan on donating before the end of this tax year. Keep these things in mind for your end-of-the-year giving.
Donations by Mail
Tip #1: If you plan to make donations with mailed-in paper checks, make sure you send them sooner than later. It’s best to mail your donations early in December. Earlier is always better as all mailed checks must be postmarked no later than December 31, 2022, in order to be considered as a donation for 2022.
Tip #2: Set reminders on your phone, digital calendar, or write a date on your physical calendar to make your donations on time. Write all your donation checks at once and mail them together as soon as you can. Don’t miss out on giving because you forget about it or get squeezed for time later in the holiday season.
Donations by Credit Card
Tip #3: If you’re making your donations by credit card, don’t wait. Why? Some smaller charities and organizations do not process the gifts immediately or automatically. Many groups who depend on volunteers to process your gift, don’t have the staffing to take your donations call during the final weeks of December. If you wait too long, then just like your too-late paper checks, your credit card donations will not be recorded until the following year.
Tip #4: If you make your donation online, print your receipt to PDF and keep it with your tax receipts. This comes in handy should you ever need to substantiate your donation was made by year’s end. You might also consider increasing your gift by two percent in order to cover any processing fees they may have.
Tip #5: When giving to smaller organizations and charities, consider setting up automated monthly giving rather than one lump sum at the end of the year. While organizations welcome gifts at any time, groups with smaller operations often welcome recurring gifts throughout the year helping to keep their operations running smoothly, which avoids the uncertainty of donor contributions.
Tip #6: If you wish to give your donations with appreciated stocks, talk with your broker-dealer about processing these gifts on or before December 16th. This helps to avoid any mishaps should the organization’s staff be out of the office during the holiday season.
Tip #7: When it comes to making donations, do your due diligence and give to trusted organizations that align with causes or uphold values that hold meaning to you. That way, you know your money is going toward a cause you believe in.
Tip #8: Take time to reflect on your list of causes. Has a once-loved institution changed its mission and focus? Has a new cause or beneficatory come to your attention? We encourage you to give your donation list a once-over. Perhaps, a bit of revision is due this holiday season.
Finally, keep room in your annual spending plan for charitable donations, whether you give at the end of the year or throughout the whole year. Create a personalized plan for your gifts and divide the total amount between your favorite organizations. Be intentional with the charities you choose and don’t wait until the last minute to send your gifts. By using these daily-money-manager-approved tips the only headaches you might regret are those eggnog-induced ones.
At Organized Instincts, our seasoned team of daily money managers can help you determine an annual spending plan for your charitable gifts. Schedule a free consultation today and never forget your donations again.