Year-end Charitable Giving: Good for your taxes; great for your soul

While we appreciate tax breaks from charitable giving (click to see the IRS 2015 Six Tips for Year End Gifts to Charity) – most of us really believe that this is the season of giving and are mindful of ways to give through Donor Advised Funds and commerce. Here’s why. Whether you’re a business or person — being able to positively impact others and having a hand in advancing the mission of a charity is extremely fulfilling. At CURE Childhood Cancer, we invest year end donations in critical pediatric cancer research – aimed at finding cures for cancers affecting children in our lifetime – and support programs for patients and their families. Most nonprofits have a multitude of ways to give year-end – here are a few to consider.

Find out how to donate toward funding a specific purpose. Contact the charity and ask them if your donation can be restricted to a specific program.  At CURE, we might use a $50 donation to purchase gas cards for families traveling long distances for cancer treatment, or a $100 donation to fund a professional counseling session for a patient family.  Find out what your gift can accomplish and make an impactful gift that fits your budget.  Remember, every dollar matters to a nonprofit!

Holiday shop at the charity boutique. As you buy gifts for the holidays, explore items or retail partnerships that benefit the charity. From merchandise displaying the CURE logo to a variety of items with general appeal (no logo!), there are many options for gift-givers which will give back to CURE.  This is a great way to give meaningful gifts where your recipient will know that the wonderful gift they received is also helping others.

Turn holiday shopping into holiday honoring. Many of us find ourselves shopping for people in our lives who have everything they truly need. So instead of buying another “thing,” consider making a donation in that person’s honor. Most charities, like CURE, will send a card and let that person know the gift was made in their honor. While some folks might want something to unwrap, many times, friends and family members will revel in the holiday spirit of giving and feel privileged you chose such a meaningful gift.

Conveniently buy and give at Amazon Smile. For online shoppers, your opportunity to donate is right at your fingertips!  Consider shopping online at Amazon Smile. This is identical to with the added benefit of Amazon donating 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charity of your choice.  Every little bit counts!

Help a more needy family and become a Holiday Angel. Most of us know it is truly better to give than to receive.  At CURE, we have a wonderful Holiday Angel program which allows donors to give with their whole hearts, giving struggling families the gift of joy at the holidays.  For many parentswith children receiving cancer treatment, the holidays are difficult, with no time – or means – to shop for holiday gifts and otherwise plan special holiday celebrations for their children.  We match donors with families in need, provide a “wish” list of toys and household needs, and the donors have the opportunity to shop and provide gifts for these special families.  It is a wonderful way to really “experience” giving to others while knowing a family will enjoy a happy holiday! Ask the charities you support about opportunities to impact aparticular family at holiday time.

For most charities and nonprofits, year-end giving is critical and allows organizations, like CURE, to further important missions. Find a way that fits and experience the inevitable sense of fulfillment that comes from knowing you are making a difference. Remember, your heart can be just as big as your potential tax benefit!

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