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Donating to Charity: Passion With a Purpose

Donating to charity is very important to many people at this time of year.

The holidays bring out the best in people.

Generosity, and kindness, and consideration of others.

People are moved by the desire to help people that are disadvantaged, and less well off than themselves.

Donating to charity is the American Way

Donating to charity is a truly American activity.

According to a poll cited recently by the Christian Science Monitor, “Americans are more apt to donate to a charity, volunteer, or help a stranger than residents of 152 other countries.”

To take it a step further, donating to charity can be considered “the nation’s most salient feature.”

This is praise from Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, as cited by historian and commentator Jeff Jacoby: “The truly extraordinary thing about the United States is not how much we produce … nor how much we consume,” Brooks wrote in Who Really Cares, his eye-opening 2006 book on the charitable habits of Americans. “Rather, it is how much we give. America is a land of charity.”

Light your fire

Donating to charity can be a way of becoming emotionally energized and enthusiastic about your life.  We become passionate about causes that reflect our values, our ideals, and our dreams. We become especially committed to organizations that helped us or our family members in times of need.

Sometimes our passion is just a burning ember, and we need help fanning it into a roaring blaze. Philanthropy experts offer a number of techniques for building your enthusiasm. Here are several suggested by TPI- The Philanthropic Initiative: visit good organizations; volunteer your time; contribute skills and talents; join with others; and serve on a board of directors. The folks at RealSimple have an easy-to-use guide for getting started.

Donating to charity: words of caution

Donating to charity can literally help the world become a better place, but proceed with caution. Dangers ranging from well-intentioned but incompetent charitable organizations, to outright crooks and scam artists, all must be avoided.  Common sense must prevail, even when the need for donations is great. Charity Navigator has a very useful websight for assessing possible beneficiaries of your gift.

Kiplinger Magazine offers sound guidelines for making sure your donation has the impact you want. These include: think before you text; avoid untested groups; watch our for scams; do a little sleuthing; and let the pros do it. Tax advantages could be available to you – make sure you get advice from an expert that applies to your personal situation.

Get the biggest bang for your buck

Donating to charity can be accomplished in a multitude of ways. People give cash, valuables, furniture, and cars. Business owners sell business interests as part of charitable gifts, and investors sell stocks in the same way.

Life insurance is an especially effective way to make a charitable gift. Every dollar of survivor benefit costs literally pennies, so even small payments can yield significant sums. The benefit is guaranteed by the carrier.

Donating to charity through a life insurance policy can be accomplished in a number of ways. Here are some: a charitable giving rider; policy donations; naming the charity as beneficiary; and gifting policy dividends.

Please call me for a consultation on how to use this wonderful product for charitable giving.

Follow your heart

What cause is close to your heart?