With the holiday season upon us, many local charities are concerned how a year of back-to-back, unprecedented natural disasters will impact their year-end contributions. While giving to disaster relief and recovery efforts across the nation is vital to help rebuild devastated communities, the need to support the ongoing charitable work here at home is no less important. Below are five tips to help ensure your charitable gifts make the greatest impact this giving season.
- Pinpoint Your Passion: Take the time to determine what causes you care about most and consider what type of charity can make the greatest impact in your areas of interest. For example, if you want to help support education, do you want to give to a public school foundation to fund programs and equipment at your local school? Or, would you prefer to give to a small nonprofit tutoring and mentoring underserved students?
- Explore Your Options: Once you’ve identified your giving goals, take the time to learn about the different charities serving that need in your community. Discover local charities serving a specific cause at GiveSmartOKC.org. The online directory offers a keyword search to help you find charities that fit your interests.
- Do Your Homework: Learn more about the organization and ensure its legitimacy. Several websites such as GuideStar.org and IRS.gov allow you to verify if an organization is tax-exempt. For charities in central Oklahoma, GiveSmartOKC.org offers a deeper look into the organization’s specific programs to evaluate their impact and ensure they will make the best use of your contribution.
- Maximize your Donation with a Matching Gift: Ask your employer if they offer matching gifts for charitable contributions made by employees. Locally, you can take advantage of the Kirkpatrick Family Fund Endowment Matching Program. To find organizations currently eligible for a matching gift, visit occf.org/KFFmatch.
- Look for Alternatives to Cash Donations: While cash gifts are always welcome, many charities also encourage other types of gifts such as stocks, real estate or gifts from your retirement account. These alternative giving options may also reduce your taxable income for the year. If your chosen charity is unable to accept these gifts, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation may be able to facilitate the gift to support the charity through its endowment fund.
By giving more effectively, you can maximize the impact of your charitable support and help our local charities make a lasting impact in our community this giving season.