Charitable Giving Expert Lisa M. Dietlin Offers Valuable Year-End Giving Ideas to Help Nonprofits and Maximize Tax Deductions

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Dietlin provides charitable giving tips that enable you to make a difference - and receive tax benefits.

Lisa M. Dietlin & Associates Transformational Philanthropy

Let this season of giving inspire you to make a New Year's resolution to contribute to a charity throughout the year

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If you want to donate to a charitable organization while also providing a deduction for your 2008 tax bill, charitable giving expert and philanthropic consultant Lisa M. Dietlin suggests now is the time to make a final decision about which nonprofit organizations to donate to, so you don't miss the year-end deadline. This season is traditionally the busiest time for charitable giving; this year, because of the sagging economy, many charities are experiencing a greater need for their services and support. By giving a charitable gift now, donors can help an organization continue providing important services, while providing themselves a charitable tax deduction.

"The time to give is now - if you're not sure you can get a donation to the nonprofit organization by the December 31st deadline, consider making a donation online; many nonprofits have a Website that enables donors to give online using a credit card," said Lisa M. Dietlin, president and CEO of Lisa M. Dietlin & Associates. "Every dollar counts and no donation is too small, especially now as many nonprofit organizations are seeing an increase in need; your giving truly matters."

Lisa M. Dietlin's Tips for Year-End Charitable Giving:

Keep Detailed Records:
To claim a deduction for a charitable contribution you need to keep a dated receipt, such as a canceled check or a dated credit card statement. The receipt needs to show the name of the nonprofit organization and amount of the contribution. Also, keep detailed records and receipts for donations such as clothing and furniture indicating both the item and the condition of the item donated.

Don't Miss the Deadline:
Be sure your donation is processed by 11:59 pm on December 31st. If you make a donation by credit card, consider making the donation a few days earlier than the December 31st deadline, to be certain it's processed in time.

Pledges and Contributions:
It is important to know the difference between a pledge and a contribution. If you pledged $500 in July but paid the charity only $200 by December 31st, your deduction is $200.

Give Wisely:
To check out the standards and accountability of a nonprofit organization, search the database of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance. This watchdog organization offers a no-cost search service that produces in-depth reports detailing how a charity spends its money and how it governs its organization. http://www.bbb.org/charity

Stocks, Bonds, Real Estate and Life Insurance:
Gifts of stocks, real estate and life insurance are valuable donations, but complex. Donors should consult with their financial and tax advisors about the deductibility of these types of charitable gifts.

Review IRS Guidelines:
The IRS does not consider all charitable donations equal. Contributions registered as 501 (c) 3 entities are tax-deductible. Donations to 501 (c) 4 groups that perform lobbying are not. Be sure to check IRS guidelines for details about tax breaks.

"Let this season of giving inspire you to make a New Year's resolution to contribute to a charity throughout the year," said Dietlin. "Remember, need knows no season, and your monetary gift, or the gift of your time, is valuable and will be appreciated."

About Lisa M. Dietlin & Associates:
Lisa M. Dietlin & Associates assists entrepreneurial individuals and nonprofit organizations in developing transformational philanthropic strategies. Serving as a philanthropic agent, our expert advice, structured counsel and major gift programs are becoming the prime model for philanthropic leadership. Lisa M. Dietlin is a nationally known speaker and published writer on issues of charitable giving and philanthropy. She is the charity contributor and philanthropic advisor with CBS 2 Chicago. http://www.lmdietlin.com

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