1. Find your passion and focus your giving. Think about two or three areas or
    causes you want to support and make this your philanthropic mission.  Not only
    will your gifts have more impact, but you will also find your giving more satisfying.
  2. Know your charity. Charities have an obligation to provide detailed information to interested donors.  Request written literature and a copy of the charity’s latest annual report which should include a list of the board of directors, a mission statement, and the most recent audited financial statements.

  1. Find out where your dollars go. The American Institute of Philanthropy recommends that 60% or more of your charitable donation should go to program  Less than 40% should be spent on general administration and fundraising costs.
  2. Check out the leadership of the organization. A key question to ask is,
    “What percentage of board members has made a contribution to the group in the past year?”  The reply should be 80% or better.
  3. Develop a “giving” budget. Determine a percentage amount of your annual
    income to dedicate to your philanthropic interests.  Start small if necessary and
    strive to increase your percentage of giving every year.
  4. Create a legacy of giving. Teach the art of philanthropy to the next generation through your example.  Share your values with your children, grandchildren, and other young people and demonstrate your commitment to support those values.

Reprinted by permission of Money Quotient, NP

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