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Tips for Wise Charitable Giving

United Way understands how important it is to choose the right organization to donate your hard-earned dollars. As you prepare to make any type of charitable gift, we urge you to consider these recommendations:

1. View Your Donation as an Investment
Any gift to a charity should be seen as an investment, and you want to invest in a charity that will make a major impact on its recipients while also giving you personal satisfaction. An investment approach to a particular group or cause will ensure a more meaningful experience for you.

2. Do Your Homework
When selecting where to give, it is important to gather all the facts. Conducting thorough research prior to giving will help you separate legitimate charities from frauds, as well as reassure you that your donation is truly helping those who need it most. To avoid fraudulent charities, make sure your chosen charity doesn’t engage in any of the following activities:

  • Sending mail appeals disguised as bills or invoices
  • Offering very little or no information on actual day-to-day operations
  • Pressuring you to give

3. Understand the Tax Benefits of Giving
An added benefit to giving is that most charitable donations are tax-deductible. To receive a tax deduction, you will need the proper documentation when filing your income tax returns. The IRS requires a receipt for each tax-deductible contribution of $250 or more. Depending on the amount or type of your gift, you may need to provide additional documents with your tax form, such as Form 8283 for each non-cash donation exceeding $500.

4. Decide How You Will Give and How Much
Financial donations are the most popular charitable gifts, but there are other ways to help your favorite cause. Many organizations will accept property and goods, as well as your time. There are many options on how to give, including donating directly online, by mail, through payroll deduction or through a donor-advised fund, like UWCK's Endowment Fund at the Central Kentucky Community Foundation. Additionally, find out if your employer will match your charitable gift. This will even further maximize your investment.

5. Track Your Donations
Once you have made your gift, mark your calendar with important dates of your charity’s key events for the year. Subscribe to their e-newsletters so you can stay informed about the results of your contribution.  Also, be sure to track the dates and amounts you gave and payment methods for your records.

6. Get Involved!

This tip is our favorite, because we want you to see the impact of your donations first hand! Whether it's finding a service opportunity through centralkyserves.org, joining a UWCK committee, participating in our United Way Fellows experience, or volunteering for one of our programs like VITA or Money Sense, we're happy to help you plug into our work!

We hope you'll consider making an investment in our local community through UWCK. We are proud to provide our financial information, impact reports, and success stories so you can see how your contribution will improve the financial statbility, education, and health of our neighbors in Hardin, Breckinridge, Grayson, LaRue, and Meade Counties. Gifts of cash or check must be received by Friday, December 29th to be deposited by the end of 2017. Credit card donations can be made securely on our website through December 31st to qualify for 2017 tax deductions, or at any time during the year to advance our mission!

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