Charity begins at home – or at least that’s how the old adage goes. When we downsize our home, our charitable contributions may become downsized as well, or perhaps scrutinized more closely.
With kids living at home, there were school-related fundraising efforts: booster club, uniform drives, food drives, wrapping paper sales, cookies and popcorn, to name a few. At work, we may have contributed to company-sponsored events in the form of straight cash donations, participation in a department competition, or tickets to an auction or banquet.
With all of the hoopla over the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, you may have jumped on the bandwagon (or under it, to avoid getting doused!), but it may have gotten you thinking about your charitable giving habits.
Like any other part of your portfolio, charitable giving should be outlined in your annual financial plan. Perhaps you provide annual support to your university’s scholarship fund, an organization that funds research into a medical condition about which you have personal ties, or a social issue such as hunger or homelessness. And it’s likely that you still support initiatives in which friends, neighbors, or grandchildren are involved.
For annual gifts or large donations, it is always best to check with an accountant or financial advisor to ensure that your charitable donation will be beneficial to the organization and a sound investment in your long-term strategy.
Of course, you want to ensure that the charity you support is using its resources wisely. GuideStar (http://www.guidestar.org/) provides information about each of the 1.8 million non-profit organizations registered with the IRS, in terms of income, spending, mission, and executive salaries.
So, how much DID the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge raise in August? According to BBC News Magazine, from July 29 through August 28, ALS received $98.2 million – compared with $2.7 million donated during the same period last year. The official ALS website (http://www.ALSA.org ) thanks contributors for what they are calling an “outpouring” of support (pun intended, I’m sure!), and promises to update the public about plans to “put the Ice Bucket Challenge donations to work, supporting our short-term and long-term goals,” as soon as possible.
ALS, like many organizations, uses its donations to provide a combination of research, patient and community services, and education. A small portion of fundraising income from every organization is always used to continue fundraising efforts and to pay the administration costs related to the organization’s operations.
Windsong Properties jumped on board with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge when a Windsong team member was touched by ALS, losing a friend last year. Builder at Heron Pond, Jeb Gibbs, saw first hand how this disease steals life. He spearheaded Windsong’s effort and encouraged his fellow builders to participate. “As a company, we always want to be a helpful and positive contributor to our community.”
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