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Tips on Making Donations to Charity

Tips on Making Donations to Charity - The Beacon


By: Amanda

Tips on Making Donations to Charity

As the calendar turns from October to November, people start to think about family gatherings, turkey and holiday shopping.  You may also be thinking about donating food, clothing or cash to help out those in need.  Your BBB has the following tips to help you donate wisely.

Don’t Give Cash.  Make contributions by check and make your check payable to the charitable organization, not the individual collecting the money.

Keep Records of Your Donations.  This is so you can document your charitable giving at tax time.  Though your time may not be deductible, out of pocket expenses related to the donation of your time (like transportation costs) may be tax deductible.

Pay Attention to the Name of the Charity.  Don’t be fooled by names that closely resemble those of well-known national charities.

Be Careful with Tax Exempt vs. Tax Deductible.  “Tax exempt” means the organization doesn’t have to pay taxes. “Tax Deductible” means the donor can deduct contributions to the organization on his or her federal income tax return.  Just because an organization is tax exempt does not mean that your donations are tax deductible.

Do your homework.  Ask the charity for a copy of their most recent tax documents.  These are public and will tell you how much of your donation will go to help those in your community.  You may also wish to research the charity online.  There are several sites where you can research a charity.  The Better Business Bureau developed the Wise Giving Alliance to help donors make informed giving decisions.  It reviews and produces reports on national soliciting charitable organizations You may also wish to check out the charity with your state’s Attorney General as the charity may be required to register with the state before they can solicit donations.

Your BBB also has a charity review program for local charities.  Feel free to call us at 812-473-0202 or visit our website for more information.

For more information you can trust, visit

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Amanda is the Director of Bureau Affairs and is a regular contributor to the consumer education blog. She is one of our go-to colleagues for answering complex consumer inquires. Amanda also manages our charity reporting program.