Charitable Giving: Why Do We Give?

 Tax-deductible charitable donations are a great way to get even more deductions on your tax return. By itemizing those donations to qualified charities on your 1040 Schedule A, you may be able to reduce your taxable income. In her ‘Tis the Season to Give blog written late last year, Julie Hall, CFP® outlined the different ways to give on a tax-efficient basis.  But aside from the attractive benefit of potentially lower taxes, why do we give to charities?

Individuals give to charities for many different reasons:

  • Support a Personal Connection– We may know someone who works for a charity or benefits from the organization in some way (i.e. a relative is a breast cancer survivor, so a donation to the Susan G. Komen Foundation feels like the right way to give back).
  • Support Society as a Whole – We may feel like, because we are fortunate to be financially comfortable, we should do our part and give back to those who are less fortunate (i.e. a local food bank).
  • Support a Cause We Truly Believe In – We have a passion for a cause (i.e. animal lovers may choose to support the Humane Society).
  • Support an alma mater – We give back to our local high school or college as a “thank you” for the educational experience.
  • Support a Religious Affiliation – We tithe to our church on a local, national, or international level.

If you’ve made the conscious decision to give to charities, it is important to (1) research the charities you’re interested in to make sure that they are legitimate and that your donations will be used responsibly for the intended cause and (2) track your giving and communicate your giving plan to your family.

In my next post, I will take a closer look at the best ways to research your charities.