Giving during November makes sense as it is the time of Thanksgiving – the holiday and the time when gratitude is a focus. Making a plan to gift to charity and causes you believe in makes extra sense at this time of year. The reasons are many.
First and foremost, gifting to charity and those in need gives you an opportunity to support your community. Whether a school, neighborhood, religion or cause these are a critical part of our life. As human beings, we need communities for survival as well as health and happiness. The amount you contribute is less critical than your commitment to community. You are part of a broader world and giving is a great way to show your support to what you believe in.
Second, picking one month to make your donations makes your life easier.
Why? You can gather all the requests of the year in one place. This will give you the opportunity to assess what you have to give and your priorities. During the year, you can save some money each month to put aside to give to charity. By waiting, you can better discern who may have special capital campaigns or unique needs. Or where your heart is. Let’s just reflect on the past quarter of 2017. Reactive donors to Houston flood victims, may then have wanted to give to hurricane victims in Florida and now to Puerto Rican efforts or the Iran earth quake victims. However, the cash they could afford to give away was given in September. With this approach, you can be clear that your desired reach is felt by your true priorities.
Third, by making donations in November, your deduction will be credited in this tax year for sure. Many of my clients have found themselves giving at the end of December. Then, there is a rush with decision making coupled with delays whether using checks or credit cards. The current year tax deduction may be lost because they went away over the holidays or forgot to mail something or in one client’s case, their credit card was never charged until January.
Fourth, you have more time to evaluate your organizations.
In keeping with my mantra, “Never do anything financial for one reason only.”
You may be giving because it feels good and your attitude of gratitude. Just know whether you can deduct it for taxes. Be sure your charity is truly a tax exempt charity if you want the tax deduction. The Internal Revenue will help you assess if they are a 501(c)(3) organization which allows for a charitable deduction on your taxes. (IRS.gov
Fifth, you will be a more financially aware donor. A charitable approach is to give to United Way or some larger national group on a monthly basis through payroll deduction or credit cards. In some ways, this simplifies your giving life. However, it does not offer you the flexibility to make changes when needed. In addition, and more important to my work, is that this approach is very unconscious. Many donors would “have to check my credit card statement” to truly know what they give every month. They are not aware that though this may help the charity do their planning, the charity is also charged a fee for the credit card processing. Auto deduct is not conscious giving. Be intentional. One check and done. So if you do give through auto pay or your paycheck, consider still giving an intentional amount in November instead (or in addition.) An annual check cost less to process for the receiver and assures the organization has the money they need to spend ahead of time, when they need it.
Finally, remember time is as reliable a donation as money. At this time of year, food shelves, holiday meal organizers and toy drives need help to make the holidays more pleasant for those in need. Planning some time could be the best gift a charity could receive.
Time, talent or treasure. Gift during this gratitude month of November and find a new tradition that will benefit you and your family in so many ways.
C.D. Moriarty is a financial speaker, writer and coach. She is dedicated to empowering others around their money so they can achieve their dreams. She is living her dreams by residing in the Green Mountains and helping others through her work. She can be reached through her website at www.MoneyPeace.com
Christine D. Moriarty, CFP™
Choose Consciously, Plan Attentively, Live Peacefully