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7 tips to amplify your charitable impact

From creating a mission statement to automating donations, check out our top tips on giving wisely.

Charitable giving allows you to invest in your values, champion worthwhile causes and enjoy multifold personal benefits, from increased self-esteem to lower stress levels and a longer lifespan. But despite giving being good for you and good for others, many donors don’t give as much as they’d like because they’re unsure of the impact their donations would have.

If this resonates with you, check out the following tips to empower your philanthropic plans and confidently contribute to meaningful causes.

  1. Put your goodwill in writing.

The first step toward a successful charitable plan? Crafting a mission statement. This allows you to make a greater impact by narrowing down the issues you most care about. It also makes it easier to turn down donation requests that don’t align with your charitable priorities.

  1. Make a plan to have an impact.

If there’s a specific cause near and dear to your heart, it might be wise to direct all donations to a charity that can have a significant impact, as opposed to dividing funds among different organizations that may not have the same influence. Keep in mind that nonprofits can often do more with larger gifts.

  1. What’s in a name? Find out.

When it comes to charities, a rose by any other name doesn’t smell as sweet. Consider this: Searching Candid’s GuideStar – a leading philanthropic research database – for "Sacred Heart" in its name yields over 9,300 possible matches. If you narrow it down to just Florida, you’ll find over 650 matches. With so many similarly named charities, it’s crucial to verify the official name of the one you wish to support. If you aren’t careful, you could accidentally choose a charity that sounds like it’s supporting a cause you care about, but it isn’t as impactful.

  1. Double-check your donation’s destination.

Confirm your charitable dollars are going to the right place by visiting the official website of the nonprofit you’re supporting. Double-check the organization’s name and location. Then take your research one step further by confirming the charity’s tax ID, also known as an employer identification number (EIN). Fortunately, this is easier than it sounds thanks to verified online tools such as GuideStar’s charity search, which is integrated with Raymond James Charitable's website to make it easier for donors to search when making a grant request. These typically display a charity’s public financial information and Form 990, which includes its tax ID number. All you need is a charity’s name and location.

  1. Do your due diligence.

You don’t have endless charitable dollars, so it’s essential to prudently evaluate the charities you can support. To do so, turn to charity rating websites – Charity Navigator, BBB Wise Giving Alliance, GuideStar or Give Well, to name a few – and ensure you’re contributing to organizations in tune with your giving goals. Raymond James Charitable also partners with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy to help donors find the best charity to support and make an impact.

  1. Go straight to the source.

If you’ve done your due diligence but have lingering questions about how your gifts will be used, call or email the charity directly to ask about their funding needs and how they use donations. The more confident you are that your gift is being used accordingly, the more fulfilled you’ll be by your philanthropic efforts.

  1. Get ahead by getting organized.

Ensure you’re supporting the sectors you most care about by keeping track of your giving. You may also want to establish a giving budget for the next three to five years to thoughtfully distribute your money in the long term and make the most of potential tax benefits. Another tip? Schedule recurring grants from your giving accounts to streamline your philanthropic efforts. This is particularly convenient if you’re part of Raymond James Charitable, since our grant website helps verify the correct name, EIN and address for the charity you wish to support. In addition, our team of professionals confirms the charity is in good standing with the IRS before issuing any grants on your behalf.

Sources: charitywatch.org; charitynavigator.org; health.clevelandclinic.org

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