Staying Smart While Giving Back

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After the rush of Black Friday and Cyber Monday comes a different kind of day devoted to giving.

“What Giving Tuesday is, it allows us to be able to say ‘what is it that we can do for our community?’,” said Beth Tevlin, Executive Director of the Wabash Valley Community Foundation. 

But this year, an increase in individual exemptions due to tax cuts is stirring up concerns over possible negative effects on charitable giving.  

Local leaders assure there are other charitable avenues that are advantageous to tax payers.  

“If they wanted to give highly appreciated assets, or if they wanted to perhaps make a transfer from their IRA, their Required Minimum Distribution, that was really a tax smart way of giving,” said Tevlin. 

Tax-smart isn’t the only smart way to give this season, as donors should be careful not to fall into the trap of false charities.

“Non-scrupulous people will take advantage of people’s giving spirit, they will call them on the phone and say I’m with X, Y, Z charity, will you give a contribution,” said Tevlin. 

Leaders advise people to avoid donating to charities that call and tell you they’ll pick up the money at your home, and to instead contact a charity yourself if you wish to donate.

“Reach out to the organizations, we love to hear from people who are interested, we love to tell you what we’re doing, so just pick up the phone and give us a call,” said Abby Desboro, Marketing and Communications Director at United Way of the Wabash Valley. 

Those phone calls and donations aren’t expected to change too much, as local leaders say that those who give, don’t only do so for the tax incentives.

“Giving is a circular aspect, when you give it ends up coming back to you in many more ways, so while I think that there may be some impact, I think that the Wabash Valley are incredibly giving, I think they will continue giving regardless of what Washington DC does about taxes,” said Tevlin. 

Representatives from local non-profit organizations want to remind people that they are looking for donations and volunteers year-round, not just on Giving Tuesday, and encourage interested people to visit the charities to see how their money and time can translate into positive change.

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