If one of your 2017 resolutions is to be more giving and make a positive difference this year, but you feel:
- Unsure of who to give to
- Unsure if the money you are donating is actually being used for the mission
- Clueless on how you would get a tax deductible for your donation anyways.
Then this piece of content is here to help. In this post you will learn the fast and easy steps to gather all of the knowledge you need to successfully accomplish your giving resolution this year.
My name is Maria and I’ll be your guide . Here are four pieces of nuggets to get a tax break, outsmart the scammers AND be a force of good. But before we dive in, imagine…
…Waking up on a sunny, Saturday morning, you reach out for your phone and notice an email that sends a bolting shock through your body and jerks you awake…an email from an organization where you donated to provide transportation for impoverished children to attend school in Peru.
You open the email, inside you find a video and hit play…
The video begins with children happily laughing on their way to school for the first time in a long time, for many it’s their first time.
The vehicle the children are being transported in is running thanks to your contribution. Your help has allowed them to attend school. You feel a warm tingling in your chest, you breathe in deeply and look around your surroundings as you are transported back to your room on this Saturday morning and realize that in this moment, all is right in the world. You feel enormously happy and feel hopeful for the future and in the goodness of humanity.
You could wake up to an email where you find out that the organization you contributed to is a total scam and you were ripped off. You start breathing faster, your blood pulsating heavy against your veins in extreme anger and disappointment because you were taken for a fool! You begin to think that the entire world is messed up and here is the price you pay for being a good person in world filled with horrible, horrible people.
We live in a cool place filled with even cooler humans that make amazing contributions in our planet. But, we cannot ignore the other side of the coin. The side where people are malicious and will take advantage of kind hearted folks like you.
You have a huge heart and you are more than willing to give back and help make the world a better place but to really make an impact, your brain is also a required.
Let’s begin with our heart.
#1 Know WHY you are doing this
Find an organization that really and I mean REALLY hits home with you. This is your chance to give to your full blown passion, whether it’s music, the arts, the environment, education, special needs, nutrition, finance, technology etc. There are millions of non-profits out there for almost anything you can imagine. Don’t settle, find an organization that you truly feel for!
Now let’s switch to your brain.
#2 Make sure the organization you are donating to is legit
This is where you place your investigative hat on to find the gems of the non-profit realm and blow the lid off of the scammers.
WARNING: This next section may sound technical and boring, but the brain must learn the rules of the trade to not be fooled (plus its very, very short).
This challenge [The ‘legit organization’ challenge] can be accomplished by asking the right questions, such as :
- Can you please forward me proof of your 501(c)(3) status?…This let’s you know that an organization is registered with the IRS and allows you to receive a tax break for your contribution. The proof comes in the form of a letter from the IRS. Or you can find the proof here: IRS Search Organization tool
- What is your FED ID number (also can be found on the letter from IRS mentioned above)?
- What is your annual overhead cost? Rule of thumb is that at least 75% of all profits should go to the mission and the rest should go to overhead costs (that means that only 25% or less of their total revenue should be used to run the organization).
- Where are the majority of your funds coming from? Use the incredible power of Google to further search the legitimacy from whom the the largest portion of funds are coming from, and ask them of any holes or inconsistencies that you may find.
If the organization has been able to go through these hurdles with no problem at all. The odds are heavily in favor that they are in fact, legit! But if you still get a sketchy vibe…here is are some extra ways to filter out any scum.
#3 Watch out for these very common scam efforts
- The name sounds very similar to another, more established, organization
- They ask for cash donations only
- You are asked to wire money
- You received a thank you note for a contribution that you have yet to make
If they passed all of these tests, congrats you have found “the one” .
Now to reap the extra benefits of your donation…
#4 Here’s how to include your donation in your taxes
Easy, write your deduction on form 1040, Schedule A of your tax return and that’s it!
I will stress again, donate to a cause that you feel real feelings for. That tax-break is much more magical if you care too.
Speaking of magical…You did not think I was going to write this post and not mention the Traveling Unicorn!
The Traveling Unicorn is an organization where young people (or the young at heart) come together to spread the message of world unity by providing transportation for impoverished children in third world countries to encourage education. The TU (traveling unicorn) has been around for 1.5 years and is currently raising funds to fix a broken down van (the only source of transportation) for special needs school in Peru.
The “spread the message of world unity” comes into action in our fundraising events where we partner-up with a local charity that service our nearby community. Our combined forces splits the funds in half. One half goes to a local community charity that serves kids and the other half goes to our current project in another part of the world. You can be a force of good at home and abroad. You don’t have to choose.
Disclaimer: All of the money that is donated through the website goes to our project. This 50/50 split applies when we throw fundraising events (we can let you know when we throw those too).
Check us out, take a chance, we may be “the one” for you.
Click on this link: The Traveling Unicorn to learn more about us, our mission, be on your way to a tax break and fulfill your 2017 resolution