As our work with the SE Asia Foundation continues to mature, I’m often asked about how one can know if their charitable donations are doing all the good they expect. Usually, I just answer such inquiries with a top-of-the-head response. But recently a friend wanted to delve more deeply into that question so I decided I’d better put my thoughts together more concisely. So, here you go: Ten serious mistakes to avoid when giving, followed by one positive suggestion.

  • Mistake #1: Failing to check the credentials of the receiving organization
  • Mistake # 2: Not aligning your giving with your personal goals
  • Mistake #3: Waiting until the end of the year to donate
  • Mistake #4: Failing to check operating expense ratios
  • Mistake #5: Responding emotionally to emotional pleas
  • Mistake #6: Spreading your generosity too thin
  • Mistake #7: Donating to receive a prize or a gift
  • Mistake #8: Failing to take advantage of donating appreciated stock
  • Mistake #9: Failing to make a Qualified Charitable Donation (QCD) from your IRA
  • Mistake #10: Not taking advantage of your $300 tax free allowance

These concerns can be easily addressed with an Annual Giving Plan. Just set a budget – at whatever level is comfortable for you – disburse those funds throughout the year – to the organizations you have come to trust. That’s it. Simple. Straightforward. The end result is:

  • Your giving now has clear intent.
  • Your giving has a meaningful impact on the causes truly important to you.
  • You can enjoy the satisfaction of knowing you are making the world a better place.

Read the full article about the ten biggest mistakes by Bill Taylor at Global Washington.