Make the Most of Your Donations
By Saghir Aslam
(The following information is provided solely to educate the Muslim community about investing and financial planning. It is hoped that the Ummah will benefit from this effort through greater financial empowerment, enabling the community to live in security and dignity and fulfill their religious and moral obligations towards charitable activities)
Millions of baby boomers and others are finding themselves in a financial position to share some of the fruits of their life with others. According to a study from blackbaud, Boomers account for $61.9 billion per year in donations, or 43% of all dollars donated. But before you begin your own process of giving to a charity, it’s wise to start at the beginning. Think hard about the broad causes you are interested in then process of discernment to begin narrowing your search to find particular organizations that best serve the causes.
Find your interest. Many prospective donors have spent their lives with a narrow focus-working, saving and caring for their families. Often they are not well versed on the universe of possible beneficiaries of their philanthropy. Individuals support charitable causes they are passionate about or members of the family are involved in- perhaps music, education, scientific causes, the arts or health care oriented, taking care of the most vulnerable orphans particularly girls.
Gauge your impact. it is important for budding philanthropists to identify the type of impact they want to make locally, nationally, or even globally. “It’s very common, even with high-net-worth donors, to give locally and benefit their immediate community”.
“When they’ve decided on the type of impact they want to have, then they can begin to focus on the type of charitable giving program they want to institute”.
Some will want to set aside charitable bequests, benefiting causes upon their death, while others are eager to begin right away, to see the impact of their philanthropy during their lifetime. But she cautions all of this must be done in close coordination with a person’s financial advisor and other professional advisors to determine how the gift or gifts may impact their investment plan, along with their income and estate tax planning needs.
Do some amateur sleuthing. After you’ve narrowed down the field and thought about where and when to make your impact, you are ready to begin zeroing in on potential beneficiaries of your philanthropy.
To search should always begin by checking a charity’s website. A subsequent review of inline tools such as charity Navigator (http://www.charitynavigator.org/) and Guide star, (http://www.guidestar.org/), which independently appraise charities, also make sense. You should always check the IRS website for the Exempt Organization Select Check (http://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/). That site lets you know whether a particular charity is an approved organization and that your contribution is tax deductable.
Consider volunteering. Once you’ve narrowed your search, you consider volunteering for the charity. Not only does this give you the opportunity to experience the organization from the inside, it also allows you to see firsthand the level of service they’re offering to community.
You want to decide. Do you want to focus in particular field, such as education, health micro credit orphans or some others as there are many fields that you can donate your hard money to. Once you pick a field then you want to take a look at your finances. Is it better to trickle donations here and there, or do you want to focus in certain field as I wrote above or any others. Once you have narrowed it down to the field. Then you have another task what country is the greatest need what country you want to focus in. What impact your donation will make impact on short term and long term.
Some people want to see this happen while they are still alive so that they can see the great difference they are making share with friends to join .some want to do it after their death.
Others may want to start in their life time watch it monitor it and then do the larger part of donations after death. In some cases you may want to try multiple options. Watch the organizations watch how they operate. How much of your dollars actually go towards to the cause. All of these things one must consider, once you have decide then start and enjoy helping others as that is the real life.
(Saghir A. Aslam only explains strategies and formulas that he has been using. He is merely providing information, and NO ADVICE is given. Mr Aslam does not endorse or recommend any broker, brokerage firm, or any investment at all, nor does he suggest that anyone will earn a profit when or if they purchase stocks, bonds or any other investments. All stocks or investment vehicles mentioned are for illustrative purposes only. Mr Aslam is not an attorney, accountant, real estate broker, stockbroker, investment advisor, or certified financial planner. Mr Aslam does not have anything for sale.)