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Give What You Can Afford to Those in Need

At this time of year, we are all deluged with mail and telephone solicitations from all types of charities. We receive dozens of calendars, note pads, greeting cards, address stickers and other various and sundry “free gifts,” with the expectation that we will not accept the “free gift” without feeling in our hearts that we are at least morally bound to donate something to cover the cost of the gift and a little extra. The problem is that by receiving so many solicitations we may tend to become desensitized to the plight of those individuals and families who are so desperately in need of assistance, not just during the holidays, but 365 days a year.
Before I make a contribution to any charity, I first check the IRS website to determine whether or not the charitable organization is approved by the I.R.S. as a tax-exempt charity. After all, especially in this economy, tax deductibility may be one of the motivating factors for making a contribution. I also want to know what percentage of my donation goes to the paid fundraiser and what remaining percentage goes to charitable purpose. . The website www.charitynavigator.org will give you this information for a number of states, including Colorado. In addition, the American Institute of Philanthropy has a grading system of top-rated charities that spend 75% or more of their budgets on programs and $25 or less to raise $100 in public support. The organization has certain other relevant and important guidelines. This information is available at www.charitywatch.org.
The principals of some businesses, including ours, regularly make charitable contributions to the charity of choice of each of the other principals, in lieu of exchanging gifts at Christmas. In addition, each principal makes contributions to his or her own charity of choice. This tradition seems to work well and helps our firm fulfill what we consider as our civic and social obligation to give where it helps the most.