We can all be philanthropists!

Posted on December 4, 2022

You don’t have to be a Carnegie or a Rockefeller to be a philanthropist. Anyone who cares about their community and gives back in the ways they can earns that title.  Charitable giving is often focused on money, but cash is not the only way to give. There are lots of different ways, big or small, you can support the causes and organizations you care most about.

We are not experts in the field of charitable giving but given how much work we are doing to try raise money for our new library, we are thinking a lot about this these days.  With the help of the Carroll County Community Foundation and a few of our Friends, we are also learning a lot about different ways of giving. So, we wanted to share!

Financial Giving

A cash gift that an organization can use to meet its most urgent needs is always welcome.  As a donor, just remember that, for tax purposes, all cash gifts must be documented.  Most charitable organizations will send you a letter verifying the date and amount of your gift to them. But, if you don’t receive a letter, you can use your own records (a cancelled check or credit card statement) as documentation—just be sure to record the full name of the charity, if it isn’t clear on the document.

Only gifts made to qualified charitable organizations are deductible.  The IRS has a search tool that makes it easy to check the status of any organization. If you are not finding an organization on the IRS list, it is best to contact the organization directly to ask about its charitable status.  Religious organizations like churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples, do not have to register with the IRS, and most gifts to these types of organizations are deductible. It is best to ask the organization if you have any questions, though.

Remember gifts to individuals, no matter how worthy, are never deductible.

Planned Giving

Cash is not the only way to make a financial donation to an organization.  With a little planning, you may be able to support a cause much more than you thought you could ever afford!

  • Naming an organization as a beneficiary in your will, or on a retirement or life insurance policy, are ways to give that cost you nothing during your lifetime.
  • Establishing a charitable gift annuity, charitable lead trust, or charitable remainder trust are ways to give that guarantee you or your heirs an income stream and leave a legacy to the cause of your choice.
  • For those 70 ½ years old or older, an IRA charitable rollover is a simple way to support an organization and receive tax benefits in return.  Click HERE for details on this option.
  • Donating real estate or other noncash items is another way that allows you to give to an organization without dipping into your personal cash flow. Generally, you can receive an immediate tax deduction for the full appraised value of the property you donate. But it gets complicated quickly. It is best to discuss this option with the organization you want to support to see what types of gifts they can accept prior to making this sort of a donation.

The Carroll County Community Foundation is an excellent resource for anyone interested in exploring ways they can leave their mark on our community through giving.  They are here to help generous people invest in our community’s future!

Giving of your Time and Talents

People willing to volunteer their time and talents are extremely valuable to most organizations (the Friends of the Library included)! There are all sorts of ways people can help organizations from working events to liking Facebook posts to writing testimonials or press releases to serving on boards. With the current shortage of volunteers across the country, your presence may just be worth more than your weight in gold to some organizations.  Just a few hours a year could really make a difference!

Our Favorite Cause

All this information applies to whatever causes you care about most. Of course, our favorite organization to support is the Friends of the Berryville Library and their Berryville Library Building Project. We hope you consider supporting the Friends with your time, talent, and treasure in 2023!