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There are many reasons to give to charity. Not the least is your own self interest if you give to a charity that provides services to people with, or does research about, your health condition.

Before you give to a charity, it is advisable to learn about its programs and to check how much of the money you give will go to the program(s) you care about instead of overhead. Be sure the organization is the charity you think it is: many organizations have similar names.

You can support your favorite charity or charities in a number of ways. For instance, you can:

  • Volunteer time (even from home). Just about every charitable organization can use volunteers. It doesn't matter what your skill level or how much time you have to devote, or how much you can do physically. In addition to benefitting people with your health condition, volunteering can also help you update, hone, or learn new, skills that can be useful in a work setting.
    • NOTE: If you consider going on a board of a nonprofit, it is advisable to be sure the organization has Directors and Officers Insurance ("D and O" Policy). D & O" policies cover any "wrongful act" committed as a board member. "Wrongful act" is generally defined to include a breach of duty, neglect, error, misstatement, misleading statement or omission.
  • Donate money or other assets such as real or personal property, secuerities or insurance products such as a life insurance or annuities. You can get a tax break with these donations. . 
  • Do fund raising.
  • Shop at brick and mortar or internet retailers who give a portion of each sale to a charity.
  • You can spend money by means of a credit card that gives a portion of what you spend to charity.

It is not advisable to give away so much so that it could affect your quality of health care or standard of living, regardless of how long you or your doctors may think you have to live.

You can increase your charity dollars by matching employer programs.

There are charity advisers if you need help deciding on the best charity(ies) for you.

Charitable donations are tax deductible. Claiming a deduction reduces your taxes.

You can help a charity you care about by participating in a Walkathon, a Bike Ride or other coordinated fund raising activity. You receive physical and mental benefits of exercise - as well as the comaraderie of being with people who care about the same things you do. 

Of course, you can also donate by volunteering your services or by raising money.

Note: If you have an IRA, and are age 70 l/2 or older,  you can make a charitable donatoin from your IRA. See: IRAs.

For more information, see:

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Volunteering Charity: Giving To

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Common Methods Of Charitable Giving


More information about this subject is contained in the Main Article in "To Learn More."

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How To Stretch Your Charitable Donation Dollars

There are several easy ways to stretch your donation dollars. For example:

  • Many employers have matching-grant programs that double the amount of your contributions.
  • If you have a traditional IRA, and are age 70 l/2 and older,  you can transfer up to $100,000 yearly from a IRA directly to a chaarity.  If you are married,  you and your spouse can give up to $100,000 each from your separate IRAs. Qualified charitable distributions can count as required minimum distributions, but they are not taxable and they are not added to your adjusted gross income, so they won't trigger a Medicare premium surcharge.  You cannot deduct the conation. 
  • You can leverage a small donation into a big donation by joining a Giving Circle. A Giving Circle is a group of people who pool their money to have a greater impact on charities. Giving Circles can range from a few people to many. You can find a Giving Circle or learn tips for starting your own at the Giving Circles Network, offsite link, Tel.: 703.408.0312 
  • Consider making a gift to an organization relating to your health condition that does advocacy work to increase government spending for research and/or services. Giving a dollar to such an organization can mean many times that amount in research and/or services about your condition if the group is effective in obtaining government dollars.

Selecting A Charity


There are a lot of worthwhile charities. There are also many which have a disproportionately high amount of expenses and some which are even scams. Know the charity to which you're giving.

Do your homework. Don't select a charity blindly.

Make sure the group is the one you think it is. Many organizations have names that sound confusingly alike. Some are even scams.

For a calculator that tells you the net cost of a donation and your tax savings, see: offsite link

For information, see:

More information about this subject is contained in the Main Article in "To Learn More."

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Advisors To Provide Advice About Sizable Charitable Donations

To locate a donor consultants, try the following:

When vetting advisors, The Wall Street Journal suggests that you:

  • Ask whether the advisor is getting paid by any organization they recommend for funding.
  • Rquest references from former clients -- and check them.

Tax Deduction For Charitable Donations

Charitable donations are tax deductible to a maximum in any year of 50% of your adjusted gross income for donations of cash, and 30% for appreciated securities.

The law requires that every gift, no matter how small, must be supported by either a cancelled check or a receipt or letter from the charity. Donations over $250 require a letter or receipt from the charity.

Employer records are an acceptable way of proving donations made through payroll deductions.

For gifts of property:

  • The deduction is for the value of the property at the time the gift is made (not the cost). Tax software programs generally have a listing of current values. You can also see valuations at the Salvation Army's website: offsite link
  • You need proof that is in "good used" condition. The IRS hasn't defined what that means. Photos are one way of proving the condition.
  • You need a receipt for any donation worth at least $250, including a description of the property. For contributions over $500, an extra form (IRS form 8283) has to be included in your tax return describing the property. Property valued at more than $5,000 needs to be appraised.

With respect to used cars, as a general matter, the deduction is limited to what the charities sells the car for. You can deduct the fair market value if the charity gives or sells the car to a needy individual in "direct furtherance" of the charity's purpose.

NOTE: If you use your own car in service of charitable groups, you can consider 14 cents per mile to be a charitable contribution in 2018 plus what you pay for parking and tolls..

Reviewed by Jerry S. Chasen, Esq.

Chasen & Associates, P.A.

Miami, FL offsite link

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