In addition to helping others, there’s a practical side to giving this time of year. To qualify for a tax deduction in calendar year 2020, donors must make their yearly giving decisions by December 31st.
If you choose to help spread holiday cheer through helping others, it’s wise to take a few moments to ensure your donations are doing the most good for the causes you care about. Here are some tips to help you become a smarter donor by making sure that your charitable contribution goes where it is sure to do the most good:
Research Charities and Read Consumer Reviews
- GuideStar lists more than a million nonprofits in its database, all of which have met IRS criteria for tax-exempt organizations. You can check here to make sure your charity is a 501(c)(3).
- The Better Business Bureau’s Give.org website keeps track of complaints against nonprofits, just as it does for businesses. A nonprofit that displays the BBB logo on its site has passed a rigorous screening process. Not all nonprofits are listed here, however many large, national ones are.
- Charity Navigator ranks charities based on their efficiency, transparency and accountability. The rating agency gives charities up to four stars, providing an easy way to find organizations where your contributions will be safe and effective.
Go Local & Give an Unrestricted Donation
A good rule of thumb is to start locally for your charitable giving. You’ll help your community, and you can get to know those organizations in a way you can’t with those that are national and international. Local nonprofits also help employ your neighbors and friends. After you pick a couple of local nonprofits, then think about going further afield with your contributions.
Before you give, take the time to research your charity so that you know they’re trustworthy. Be generous enough to give an unrestricted donation. Unrestricted means that the nonprofit can use the money where needed. Unrestricted contributions provide an organization with the flexibility to respond to changing demands for its services and to spend the money where it is most needed to continue day-to-day good work.
Be Cautious of Social Media Giving
In a world of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, it’s easy to get carried away with the fundraising ads that pop up in your feed. Stop and do your research, however, before clicking the donate button. Check out each charity using one of the services listed above, and make sure you know who is behind the appeal. If in doubt, say no, and then seek out a trusted charity to gift.
Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity welcomes donations throughout the year. All COHFH donations are tax-deductible, as allowed by law, and will be acknowledged with a letter you may use for tax purposes. We take our responsibility to contributors and partner families seriously, and all donations go directly toward the building of homes, unless otherwise specified.
Simply complete our online donation form to send your gift. You can choose where your gift is allocated – to new construction, critical home repair, our ReStores, the purchase of land to build more homes or simply a general donation. If you prefer to send a check, please print and complete our donation form from the website. ALL donated funds go directly to support our mission to provide safe, affordable housing. With your support we can ensure more families have the opportunity for a better home and, by extension, a better life.