Make the Most Out of 'Giving Tuesday': 5 Legal Tips
Following on the heels of "Movember," #GivingTuesday is all about celebrating the spirit of generosity.
#GivingTuesday is a movement to create a national day of giving to kick off the giving season added to the calendar on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. The second annual #GivingTuesday is today (December 3, 2013).
To make the most of your #GivingTuesday, keep these five legal tips in mind:
- Make sure the charity is legitimate. Beware scam artists trying to make a quick buck off your good will. Among the steps you should take to donate with caution is to look up the charity at the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance or Charity Navigator.
- Read the fine print. Before making a charitable donation, find out how the organization will use your donated funds. More specifically, find out what portion of your dollars will go directly toward helping people and providing services. Your charity should be able to provide you with an annual report and financial documents that describe how donations are spent.
- Claim a tax deduction. You may be able to claim a charitable contribution deduction against your income tax if you itemize deductions made to a qualified charitable organization. Rest assured, most charitable organizations qualify for a charitable contribution deduction. Don't forget to retain your receipts and records.
- Amplify your employer's participation in #GivingTuesday. Find out if your employer will get into the spirit of charitable giving and match #GivingTuesday contributions. On some sites, you’ll see a list of participating employers, created by a company called Double the Donation. But make sure it doesn't interfere with your employment contract.
- Participate in #GivingTuesday crowdfunding challenges. Indiegogo will contribute $1 for every $20 raised to #GivingTuesday campaigns. In the Case Foundation's challenge, if you go to Crowdrise.com/givingtuesday2013 and make a donation, your favorite nonprofit could win a grant of $1,000, $10,000 or $25,000. As long as you do your due diligence, crowdfunding for charity is a great way to pay it forward.
As Winston Churchill once said, "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." Have a happy #GivingTuesday!