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OCT
11
Charitable Giving Re-Visited

Are you a generous person?  Do you find charitable giving personally rewarding and meaningful? Do you love giving to foundations and other organizations that help those in need?  If this sounds like you, then you know how the economic downturn has posed philanthropic challenges for individual donors (like yourself), corporations and foundations. These challenges also affect the social services organizations as unemployment, family problems, homelessness, and other issues have increased which make it extremely difficult to help those in need.

According to the most recent report by the Giving USA Foundation, donations fell 3.6% in 2009 to $303.75 billion, down from $315 billion in 2008. This is the steepest decline in current dollar terms since Giving USA began its annual reports in 1956. http://www.gwpa.org/s_gwp/bin.asp?CID=4777&DID=47565&DOC=FILE.PDF

You may have limited your own donations, and are looking for ways to make your dollars have maximum impact—more bang for your charitable buck.  If so, here are just a few of the things you need to consider as you move forward with your philanthropic efforts:

  1. Do you know all of the details about the organizations you support?
  2. How are these organizations using your money?
  3. Who is the leadership?
  4. Are they efficiently run?
  5. Are they living up to their mission?
  6. How do you get a tax deduction for your gifts?
  7. Did you receive proper acknowledgement from the charity and did it adhere to the new IRS requirement?

It is really quite simple to research all of this information through the internet. You can find a charity, learn about its mission, and conduct all of the research you need BEFORE you contribute.  Here are some resources for you to check out:

  • Guidestar.org—A directory with information about almost two million charities recognized by the IRS. You can search the database for a particular organization or use keywords, location, and other criteria to look for groups with a specific mission. Type in "homeless" and click Arizona, for example, and you'll get a list of 210 organizations.
  • Charity Navigator (charitynavigator.org) evaluates the financial health of more than 5,400 of America's largest charities.
  • The Better Business Bureau (bbb.org/us/charity) offers a wealth of resources for both charities and consumers. Its "Wise Giving Guide" summarizes the results of recent evaluations of charitable organizations and provides tips on gift-giving and charitable accountability issues.
  • The American Institute of Philanthropy operates a website (charitywatch.org) that grades more than 500 public charities and focuses on special issues such as compensation for charity executives, top-ranked groups, and "hot topics."

Here are a few more tips for you:

  • Find out how much of a group's budget goes to its programs and how much is earmarked for fundraising, other administrative costs, and overhead. (Most organizations should allocate at least three-quarters of their spending to programs.)
  • Look at a charity's annual reports to evaluate its finances and its commitment to its mission.
  • Be wary of those that have consistently operated at a loss.
  • You can read more financial details in the Form 990 every charitable organization must file with the IRS. Look for a copy on the group's website or call them to request one.

My team and I here at Froehlich Financial work with donors and any client who desires to get more involved in charitable giving and philanthropic efforts. Please call on us and we'll help you select an appropriate charity and make sure you have the documentation you need for the IRS and many other issues. I can be reached at 732-974-3770, contact me at tom@froehlichfinancial.com  or visit us at www.froehlichfinancial.com

See you next time!

Tom

Securities offered through American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc. Member: FINRA, SIPC. Investment Advisory services are offered through American Portfolios Advisors, Inc., an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Froehlich Financial Group, LTD is not an affiliate of APA or APFS. 



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Securities offered through American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc. Member: FINRASIPC. Investment Advisory products/services are offered through American Portfolios Advisors, Inc., a SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Froehlich Financial Group, Ltd. and American Executive Benefits, Inc. are not affiliates of APA or APFS. Executive wealth management products/services are offered through Froehlich Financial Group, LTD. a registered investment advisor



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