Part 1: What is a Charity, Why Should You Donate, How to Donate
Part 2: How to Choose the Right Charity to Donate to, How to Get the Tax Breaks, How Much Should You Donate
Introduction to Charity for Kids and Teens
This video explains the concept of charity in a simple, concise way for kids and beginners. It could be used by kids & teens to learn about charitable donations, or used as a money & personal finance resource by parents and teachers as part of a Financial Literacy course or K-12 curriculum.
Suitable for students from grade levels:
- Elementary School
- Middle School
- High School
The topics covered are:
- What is a charity
- Why should you donate
- How can you donate to charity
- How can you choose the right charity for your donation
- How can you get the tax breaks / benefits
- How much should be your charitable donation
What is a charity?
A charity, also known as a charitable organization, is a philanthropic non-profit organization whose main goal is to help others, especially the underprivileged.
In the US, charities are often referred to as 501(c)(3) organizations.
Charities have different purposes, some of which include giving food, shelter, and other necessities to those who cannot afford them, providing education, conserving the environment, and protecting animals.
Charities are supported through donations, called charitable donations, given to them by people who believe in their cause.
Why should I donate to charities?
It’s very important to give back to others that are less fortunate and support the causes you believe in. It helps us appreciate what we have in life and is a great way to express our gratitude.
It also provides an excellent opportunity to teach kids to care about others and make a positive change in the world.
Donating to charity actually makes people happy – so it’s a win-win! Last but not least, donations to qualified charitable organizations are eligible for certain tax benefits.
How can I donate to charity?
If you can afford, you can donate money to charities.
Remember that it doesn’t have to be a huge sum – every little bit helps. Even a few dollars can make a huge difference in developing countries, and when more people donate, it adds up!
You can also donate securities or other assets directly to charities. This way not only do you save on capital gains tax, but the charity also gets a bigger donation.
However, even if you cannot afford to donate money or other assets, you can still donate in other ways.
You can donate food, clothes, toys, furniture, etc. However, make sure to only donate these things if they are in good condition and can be used by others.
If you cannot donate money or material things, you can still donate your time.
For example, you can volunteer at a soup kitchen or help out at an animal shelter. Remember, donating time can be just as powerful as other donations.
How can I choose the right charity to donate to?
First of all, when you are choosing a charity, look at charities that have values and a mission that you believe in.
For example, if you love animals and want to protect them, you can donate to a wildlife conservation charity. This way, you can make an impact in areas that are important to you.
In addition, it is very important to research and make sure the charity is legitimate. There are many fake ‘charities’ that say they are doing good, but in reality are for-profit organizations or just schemes to take your money.
Only donate to legal charities – called 501(c)(3) organizations in the US. To see if a charity is legitimate, you can use the IRS Nonprofit Charities Database.
If you come across more than one legitimate charity for your cause, you can use websites like GuideStar and Charity Navigator that evaluate charities based on how well they use the donations they receive, their financial health, the different programs they offer, etc.
How can I get the tax creaks / benefits?
Donations, both cash and other items, are tax deductible up to a certain limit when made to a qualified charitable organization.
You need to itemize all charitable donations and keep proof of the donations, like a receipt.
Remember, donations made to individuals are not tax deductible irrespective of the size of the donation or the cause.
How much should I donate to charity?
How much you donate is completely dependent on your personal financial situation.
Needless to say, charity begins at home. If you are already struggling to cover your household necessities, have a piling credit card debt or have not yet built your emergency fund, you need to take care of them before making any sizable monetary donation.
However, you can still make non-cash donations like gently used clothing, toys, furniture, food, etc.
Volunteering your time is another great way to contribute to the organizations you’d like to support. It not only helps you feel more connected to the cause but the impact is felt first hand!
Bottom line, however you choose to donate, contributing to a worthy cause has a positive impact overall and makes the world a better place.