The Secret of Year-End Giving

The Secret of Year-End Giving
  • Opening Intro -

    The appeals for money are coming in and you're betwixt and befuddled.

    Who should receive money from you?

    Is the charity legitimate?

    What benefit, if any, might I derive from my giving?


Giving Secrets

These and other questions may be going through your mind, making year-end giving a chore for you. Your thoughts may already be consumed with Christmas shopping, planning and what you’ll be doing New Year’s Eve. Take a few moments out of your day and you can discover the secrets of year-end giving.

Emotional appeals – Charities tug on our heart strings in a bid for us to give. While not a wrong method to make an appeal, it can cause givers to overlook what the charity is trying to do. Giving gifts to children at Christmas may make you feel all warm and fuzzy, but does the charity screen families or hand out gifts randomly? You’ll want to find out what standards, if any, are in place to prevent misguided giving.

Financial requests – Most requests at this time of the year are for money. That’s because charities know that you’re thinking about your income tax deductions for the year and how you can limit your tax burden. Not every charity is worthy of your gift. Nor is every charity recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization, one where your gift can be deducted. Use Charity Navigator to find out more about the charity. Smaller charities not listed can be found on the IRS’ “search for charities” list.

Noncash contributions – You may be financially tapped out, but that doesn’t mean you cannot give. Lots of organizations will gratefully accept your gently used items including clothing, furniture and household items. Get a receipt for your donation and make certain that it is itemized.

In-kind gifts – Money and goods are popular ways to give. However, you can give other items of value including company stock. According to the IRS, “The gift to a charity of a properly endorsed stock certificate is completed on the date of mailing or other delivery to the charity or to the charity’s agent. However, if you give a stock certificate to your agent or to the issuing corporation for transfer to the name of the charity, your gift is not completed until the date the stock is transferred on the books of the corporation.”


Not every appeal at this time of the year can or should be met. Determine what or how you will give and stick with your decision. There are many other people wrestling with giving and some may choose a path of giving different from your own. Once you make your gift, consider planned giving throughout the coming year. That way, when the appeals do come, you’ll know what charities you’ll support and which ones you’ll pass on.

Financing reference:

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About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".