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Charitable Giving: How to Donate in Utah

According a Wallethub survey published in November 2022, Utah is the “Most Charitable State in America” (Most Charitable States for 2023, Adam McCann, November 8, 2022). Utah receives this honor through a combination of charitable giving and volunteering and service. 

With the holidays upon us, the spirit of giving is even greater. Charitable organizations are conducting book drives, clothing drives, and food drives. It seems that every day a request for goods or money arrives in the mail. Additionally, people are giving freely of their time to help charities and people in need. With so many opportunities, how do you decide where to put your time and/or money? 

Tips for Charitable Giving

Below are some tips that philanthropists, development professionals, and organizations offer people who are looking to give.

No Minimum Amount Required

There is no right or wrong way to demonstrate charity. The act of charitable giving itself is what matters. If what you have to give is time, regardless of how much, give time. If you can afford to give a dollar, go ahead and give the dollar. Organizations recognize and appreciate the act.

Select a Cause That is Meaningful to You

This time of year, charitable organizations invest in ways to get their messages in front of potential donors. And it is hard to resist giving to charities that appeal to your emotions. Philanthropists will tell you that you will get more satisfaction out of giving if the charitable organization(s) you support represent something important to you personally. 

Support Local

When thinking about charitable organizations whose causes are meaningful, consider those that have a local impact. National organizations usually have local branches that organize and fund activities at the city, county, or state level. When giving, check to see if your contribution can be earmarked for local use.

Involve Children

Don’t forget the kids. Exposing children to giving is an experience that teaches important lessons. Many organizations have opportunities that are appropriate for children. Packing care packages, serving food, and fulfilling another child’s wish from a giving tree are examples of activities that can set your child on the path to lifelong charitable giving. 

Watch Out for Fraud

It is also important to mention that the increased awareness and visibility towards giving this season can also mean increased opportunities for fraud. To minimize the opportunity for scammers, keep the following in mind:

  1. Never open a document or click a link in email or text from someone you do not know. Even if the mail or text looks legitimate, it is best to go directly to the organization’s website to review and share information or submit a donation.
  2. Similarly, do not respond to telephone solicitations as there is no reliable way to verify the identity of the caller.
  3. Focus your giving on registered 501c(3) organizations. A 501c(3) has fulfilled the requirements necessary to receive a tax exemption based on its charitable giving. It’s important to note that not all nonprofits are 501c(3) certified. If you plan to give to a nonprofit that is not a 501c(3) conduct extra diligence to make sure your money or time will be used for the purpose you intend.

A final thought--this article has been about giving during the Holidays. However, being charitable is a year-round activity. You don’t need to limit giving your time or money to support an important cause to December. Charitable organizations can use, and do appreciate, support any time.