If you're looking to make a charitable donation to an Oklahoma City organization, read these tips first. They'll give you some important items of preparation as well as a few reputable nonprofits to whom you can donate.
- Decide on an Amount: Obviously, charities are appreciative of everything you can spare. Set a spending limit for donations just as you would for holiday gift-giving. I say this because if you're a generous person, overextending your means can be tempting. Set an amount before you begin your research for the right charity or charities.
- If You're Approached, Ask Questions: Especially around the holidays, a number of organizations may ask for your charity. Reputable ones, however, will not pressure you. They will gladly give you their contact information, mission, whether your donation is deductible and how your gift will be used.
- Research, Research and then Research: If you're seeking out a charity, there are a number of reputable sources to help you choose one. GuideStar, Charitable Choices and Give.org all have searchable or categorized databases of National and Oklahoma City metro area charities. Get as much information about the charity's cause before making your donation.
- Double-check the Charity: If you have chosen an Oklahoma charity, the state government strongly recommends you check that charity with the Attorney General's Office. You can contact them at (405) 521-3921.
- Consider the Major Oklahoma City Charities: Depending on your preferences, here are a couple of the major organizations in Oklahoma City:
- Giving Procedures: Once you've decided which charity you'd like to donate to, make sure you do not pay in cash. Make donations by check and keep detailed records, including receipt, so that you can document it when it is time to file your tax return.
- Be cautious of "sweepstakes"-oriented charity requests.
- Be careful of similar sounding names. Make sure you have the correct charity as some less reputable organizations may have a name that closely matches a well-known one.
- Expenses related to your donation, such as transportation to a volunteer site, are also deductible.
- Tax exempt and tax deductible are two different things. Make sure your donation is tax deductible.
- If you're buying merchandise as part of a charitable fund-raiser, ask what percentage the charity actually receives. It may be more advantageous to donate directly.