Our employees have been coordinating fantastic donations such as toy drives, clothes to the Salvation Army, Adopt-a-Family, and many others. We’re also having some fun with holiday lunches, ornament exchanges, and ugly sweater parties!
If you haven’t already and can find time to give during or after the holidays, we included helpful hints from Sharon Epperson, CNBC personal finance correspondent. Follow the “three T’s” — giving of your time, your talent and your treasure.
Share your bounty by volunteering your TIME – There’s probably a food bank in your community that could greatly use your time to help prepare and serve food over the coming weeks. FeedingAmerica.org can help you find a food bank in your neighborhood.
Offer your professional EXPERTISE “pro bono” – No matter your profession, if you have an expertise, volunteer your talent for a good cause. The website, idealist.org, is a great place to find volunteer opportunities to share your experience.
A TREASURE worth giving doesn’t have to be a cash gift (how about appreciated stock, mutual funds, airline miles, or credit card reward points?)
Claim a TAX BREAK for charitable gift – Check the IRS website to find out if the charity you are thinking of donating to is a tax-exempt organization, to make sure your gift will qualify for a tax deduction. Generally, to deduct a donation, you must itemize your deductions. Once you make the donation, keep a record. For contributions of $250 or more, you’ll need written acknowledgment from the charity. Make your pledge before the end of the year for the donation to count for 2012.
RESEARCH the charity before giving – Non-profit organizations may use their money in a variety of ways. Guidestar.org and Charity Navigator.org rate charities based on several factors, including the organization’s financial health and efficiency. You can find out how much of the money goes to the organization’s stated cause versus overhead, fundraising, and other costs. Maximize your gift’s impact by taking the time to find how the charity gets and spends its money.
Enjoy a safe and happy winter season!