As the holiday season fast approaches, so does the end of another tax year. So many throughout our local communities and the world are in charitable need. Gifting an organization this year can both fill your own need to tap into the true spirit of giving, but also be an immediate reward in terms of tax deductions. Both parties are relieved with one act of generosity.
I suggest this holiday season that you open a discussion with your loved ones about their favorite cheritable organization. Not only will you find out who to gift on their behalf, but the journey may motivate you about a new association. My family has decided to do this very thing this holiday season. There will be no question of what that person would enjoy best, but rather whom they most wish to support. This is something that my family is doing this year. The rewards of this are many fold. The silent benefit is the relief I have already felt from not having to traverse the malls and parking lots with the herd of holiday shoppers. My holiday seems brighter already!
My sister will be donating her holiday gift dollars to the local Marine Toys for Tots program. She has for years purchased gifts, but this year she will purchase additional toys on behalf of each member of the family. I am more than willing to forgo the stresses of gift exchange and allow a child’s heart to be filled when they receive a gift this season that they might not have otherwise had. Poverty can be painfully obvious when a child looks around and see’s others receiving while their arms remain empty. To find out more about Marine Toys for Tots program visit www.toysfortots.org. Several retail stores such as Best Buy, Disney and Toys ‘R Us have donation gift sites in your community.
My mother is very fond of the Heifer organization. This is a fabulous charitable organization that allows one or a group purchase any number of domestic and exotic animals as a gift to families in inpovershed areas world wide. The gift is offered with instruction for care and it provide sutainance. What a wonderful way to assist someone in raising their own sense of value within the community. Offspring of the livestock donations are passed within the same community to continue the ripple of giving. Heifer has positively affected millions of families in 128 countries. This year, I will be donating to this organization on behalf of my mother. Read more about this special organizationa at www.heifer.org
“Mercy Corps” is a wonderful gift giving vehicle. This is an online website that allows you to choose very creative ways of donating: purchase a camel for a family in the Sahara, a woman’s care health supply kit, send Tsunami relief monies, support the arts, or a local soccer team in your area. The company will mail a gift card or email to your giftee detailing the bounty of your holiday dontion. This would be a wonderful service for those folks in your extended online family or as a source of last minute gift giving. Their website says 98% of the gift giving resource goes to actual benefit with ony 8% diverted to administrative costs. Read more about Mercy Corps at www.mercycorps.org
If financial donations are not one you can make, gifts of blankets and clothing items are always welcomed by local shelters and one organization out in the front at disaster relief this past year has been the American Red Cross. There is a continued need by this organization for support and donations. Donate to a specific disaster relief such as the huricane and flood affect areas of the Southern USA or earmark your donations for local community efforts. Get invovled, find more by visiting their website at
Exercise common sense when choosing the organization to gift to. Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website for topical information on non-profite organizations and charitable contributions at www.ftc.org In addition, the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance has listing or reputable organizations. Visit www.give.org. Additional valuable information about deductions should be researched at www.irs.gov before donating. The Internal Revenue Services reports itemized deductions can be deducted only if you are preparing an itemized statement and complete the Schedule A (1040) Form. Topic 506 – Contributions indicates that contributions of $250 or more require a receipt from the qualified cheritable organization. You can, however, receive deduction for tangable items that you dontate such as clothing, applicances, cars, supplies, etc. An estimated lower value than purchase can be assessed and relieved in those situations.
I hope that your heart will be filled this holiday season and that your own generosity will spill forth into the hearts of many. The holiday season motivates me with the hope for tomorrow. Be the hope in a stranger’s life today. Your generosity will be rewarded with the riches of the experience.