Now that the hectic holiday season is behind us, we can enter the new year taking a fresh look at our personal charitable giving.
Maybe you never got around to donating to that special cause, or held off because you couldn’t find time to research the interesting nonprofit you heard about. Don’t beat yourself up about it. This is the season of resolutions so just resolve to plan ahead and think about your giving now.
Procrastination is simply a reality in our busy lives. National statistics show 30% of our charitable giving is done in December to beat the deadline for claiming charitable deductions. Ten percent of giving happens in the last two days of the year.
You’ve got a whole new year before you to explore which causes strike closest to home for you. Not sure where to start? Download our “Deciding to Give” handout. To research a nonprofit, try Guidestar.org. It’s a tool our staff uses regularly.
How much should you give? Only you can decide that. The national household average for charitable giving in 2010 was just short of $3,000. Fox Valley families typically give 2 to 3 percent of their adjusted gross income, according to a Donors Forum of Wisconsin report. I encourage you to give it some thought.
In addition to your annual giving, consider the kind of charitable legacy you’d like to leave after you’re gone. Talk with your attorney or include a bequest in your will.
Rather than waiting until the last two days of 2015 are here, think now about what you wish you had supported during the past year and make giving a monthly or weekly event rather than a year-end scramble.
Curt Detjen is President/CEO of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. Email him at [email protected].