How to give when you can’t give your time
There are many reasons why doing volunteer work might not be for you. Maybe you can’t spare the time away from your daily responsibilities, you aren’t physically able, or there just aren’t any nearby volunteer opportunities that you feel passionate about. So what can you do when you want to help but can’t physically lend a hand? Why not consider making a charitable donation!
Because there are costs associated with running a charity, most charitable organizations happily accept monetary donations to help them continue the important work they do. Donations help cover administrative costs, marketing and mailing costs and, of course, pay for the services that the charities provide.
What’s great about making a donation is that while you’re helping your favorite charity continue to help others, it may actually be helping you too. Rules and regulations vary from country to country so it’s best to check with your financial advisor or accountant, but there are often tax benefits associated with charitable giving.
Keep a record of your charitable donations and file away any official tax receipts you receive from the charities you’ve donated to so you don’t lose track of them before tax time. If you donate online through organizations like Canada Helps your official receipt will sometimes be e-mailed to you. Check your spam folder to ensure that your receipts haven’t accidentally ended up there! If you’re donating items (clothing, furniture or household goods), make sure to ask the receiving charity to give you a receipt for the value of those items as proof that you did in fact donate them.
When it comes to determining how much to give, it depends entirely on what you’re able to comfortably donate based upon your income and expenses. It’s a good idea to sit down and figure out an annual charitable donation budget to ensure that you aren’t donating more than you can afford and so that you know you’re making the most of any applicable tax deductions. You can evaluate your plan at the end of every year and adjust your donation amounts as necessary. This is something else you might want to run by your financial advisor.
For more information about the tax benefits of charitable donations, including how to calculate and claim your tax credits, what records you need to keep, and how to avoid charity fraud, visit the Canada Revenue Agency, the IRS, or HM Revenue & Customs.
409500 CAN/US (04/15)