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How to give to a charity

Once you decide on the cause you would like to support, it is important to ensure the charity of your choice is a legitimate charity and will use your money properly. Read to find out more.

What is the difference between charities, fundraisers, and organizations?

Not all causes or organizations that ask for or receive donations are the same. Just because someone asks you for money to help a need, does not necessarily mean they are a charity. Because of this, it is important to understand the difference:
  • Charities are non-profit organizations that have a charitable purpose and are registered or recognized by the government or a regulatory body. Any donation to a charity can be claimed on your tax return.
  • Fundraisers are events or campaigns that raise money for a specific cause or organization, such as a walkathon, a raffle, or a concert. Anything given to a fundraiser, typically, cannot be claimed on a tax return.
  • Organizations are groups or entities that have a common goal or interest, such as a club, a society, or a foundation. Gifts to organizations are typically not included on tax returns.
Charity or not?
Determine if the following is a charity or not.
A GoFundMe page asking for donations for a local dog shelter.
Choose 1 answer:

You can also use some online resources and tools to help you evaluate and compare causes and organizations, such as:
  • Charity Navigator, which is a website that rates and ranks charities based on their financial health, accountability, and transparency
  • GiveWell, which is a website that recommends and reviews charities based on their cost-effectiveness, evidence, and room for more funding
  • Giving What We Can, which is a website that provides guidance and tools for effective and ethical giving

How can you make your charitable giving more effective and efficient?

There are many ways to make your charitable giving more effective and efficient. This will help you maximize the impact and value of your donation and minimize the cost and hassle. Here are some tips and strategies:
  • Set a budget, which is the amount of money that you can afford and want to give to charity.
  • Research the charities or organizations, which means finding out their mission, vision, goals, activities, outcomes, and ratings. Watch out for scams in forms that can hide behind fundraisers.
  • Choose the form and timing of your donation, which means deciding what and when to give, such as cash, time or goods, monthly or yearly, online or offline.
  • Keep records, which means keeping track of your donations, such as receipts, confirmations, or statements, so that you can use them when you file your taxes.


Charitable giving is a powerful and rewarding way of expressing your values and making a difference in the world and in your own life. By understanding what charitable giving is, why people do it, and how it can affect you and others, you can make informed and meaningful decisions about your generosity. By looking for signs of quality and legitimacy, you can also make sure that your donation goes to a worthy and reliable cause or organization.
We hope that this lesson has inspired and empowered you to explore and practice charitable giving in your own way. Remember, every donation counts and every donor matters. Happy giving!

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