Professional Residential and Business Organizing in Cleveland, Ohio since 2003

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Managing Your Charitable Donations

Tis the season when we are in the giving mood.  Merchants capitalize on this, and so do various charities wanting to offer you a tax deduction before year’s end.   These charitable solicitations come from multiple places----at the mall, via the telephone and in the mail. 

We feel that it is important to give to causes close to our hearts.  However, we encounter many individuals who are overwhelmed with the amount of solicitations they receive.  They are unsure if they have given to a particular charity in the past year.  They are additionally curious about the solicitations from other charitable causes they have never heard of.  Many of these same individuals feel obligated to give because of the note cards, memo pads, stamps, return address labels or money (a nickel) that have been included in the letter asking for the donation.  Remember that these ‘gifts’ are all part of the marketing budget and you are free to keep them without donating.

Here are some suggestions for keeping the donations organized.

  • First, choose a charity that is meaningful to you.  Do you prefer that your donations stay local or go global?  Do you want the monies to go toward research, education, food, or face-to-face services?
  • Secondly, determine a total amount you wish to give each year and try to stay within that budget.  There will always be exceptions, such as remembrances for someone who has recently died or donations to help others affected by a natural disaster.  But if you have a budget, and are aware of how much you have been spending throughout the year, sticking to that budget is possible.
  • Finally, select a method to keep track of your donations.  This could be merely a list that is stored in the pocket of your check book, or in your tax or donation file (you do have one of those, right?).  Include the name of the charity, the date, and the amount given.  You could also highlight the donation in your check register.

Don’t want to go to the trouble of keeping a list?  Then decide one time of year that you will donate.  It could be December, when many solicitations arrive or some other month.  We often suggest sending donations on your birthday or anniversary as a way to give to others.  Just pick a time that makes sense to you.

A final note:  Once you give to one charity, your information is often shared with similar charities.  If you wish to avoid these additional requests, then include a note that you do not want your information shared.

Looking Ahead to 2013

We know that many of you are contemplating a New Year’s Resolution to “Get Organized” in 2013, and we would like to help you achieve that goal.  Send us your questions for tips that will help you overcome any obstacles that you have had in the past.

Happy Holidays,

                JoEllen & Muffy


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