As you are making your list and checking it twice, you might want to consider whether you want to make any year-end gifts to your favorite charities. If you do, you will be in good company. According to the National Philanthropic Trust, 95.4% of households gave to charity in 2013, for a total of over $241 billion in charitable gifts. High net worth donors gave to charity to support education (80%), basic needs (79%), arts (69%), health (65%) and religion (65%). The most common reason cited for charitable giving is to give back to the community. When your year-end list includes charities, we recommend that you research the charities, consider whether you want to give cash or other property, pay attention to the timing of gifts and make sure you receive and retain the receipts that prove you donated.
Make Your List and Check It Twice. The last quarter of the year is when charities usually receive the largest percentage of donations. It is also when donors receive solicitations in the mail, at the mall, on the phone and even at the door. As you consider where to “spend” your charitable dollars, you may want to spend some time checking out the charities asking you for money. Are they legitimate? Do they use their money wisely? How much do they spend on fundraising?