Ohioans embrace the spirit of giving during the holidays. Fifty-five percent of Ohio consumers make a holiday-related charitable contribution at the end of the year, according to a consumer survey conducted by the Ohio Credit Union League. Of those who make a contribution, 55% said they write off charitable donations on their taxes.
Americans gave more than $358 billion in 2014, a 7% increase from 2013, reported the National Philanthropic Trust. The average annual household contribution last year was $2,974, and the largest source of charitable giving came from individuals. Donating $259 billion in 2014, individuals were responsible for 72% of total giving in the U.S.
Total charitable giving in the U.S. is expected to increase 4.8% year-over-year in 2015, and 4.9% in 2016, according to an article by Philanthropy News Digest.
So, what can consumers do to get the most out of their financial giving?
- Plan ahead – Include charitable giving as a line item in your budget. As with most things, planning ahead makes the process easier. If you have a favorite charity you want to support, itemizing allows you to plan for giving without cutting into your regular monthly expenses.
- Choose where you give carefully – Only donations given to qualified charitable organizations are deductible on your taxes. If you’re not sure whether an organization qualifies, go towww.irs.gov and search “charities/non-profits.”
- Get a receipt – Cash contributions, no matter the amount, must be verified by a financial institution record or in writing by the recipient organization. The receipt should include the name of the charity, a date, and the amount given. Although a copy is only necessary in case of an audit, it’s a requirement, since 2007, that all monetary donations be recorded.
- Check with a credit union – If you can’t decide how to give back to your community, contact a credit union. Many credit unions partner with local charities to support those in need, right in your backyard.
To learn more about how a credit union can help you afford life, visit www.aSmarterChoice.org and find a credit union in your area.