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Tips for Gifting and Charity

Often the most difficult task with charitable giving is taking the first steps in understanding and trying to avoid some of the misconceptions and pitfalls when making charitable contributions. In this blog I would like to provide some informational tips that will hopefully bring some clarification to gifting and making charitable contributions.

I will start with providing a disclaimer. The Sonora Area Foundation always recommends that anyone considering charitable giving should consult with an attorney and/or financial advisor. With that said, the following are helpful tips when considering a charitable contribution:

1. Can I make a tax deductible gift or contribution to an individual? No, gifts or contributions to a person, or persons, are simply not deductible no matter how charitable the use of the funds or the intent of the donor.

2. To what type of organizations can charitable contributions be made? Non-profits, churches, schools, certain medical institutions, publicly-supported organizations that assist government owned educational institutions, organizations meeting a public support test and supporting organizations. Organizations must be officially recognized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as tax exempt. Organizations must have an IRS determination letter in hand and provide a copy.

3. What kind of gifts can be made? Most people give cash or securities; however real estate, artwork or other tangible personal property are acceptable.

4. Upon making a gift or contribution to an organization that meets the public support test, should I receive a letter documenting my gift or contribution? Yes, make sure the gift or contribution acknowledgment letter precisely documents the charitable gift and the amount given for tax purposes.

5. When should I consult professional advice with my financial and charitable goals? It is a good idea to meet with those professionals who are knowledgeable with charitable giving at the time you begin contemplating your financial and charitable goals.

Beginning your charitable planning today, will help ensure that the decisions you make tomorrow will make a difference for many years to come. The Sonora Area Foundation is here to help you find answers with your philanthropic questions. Please give us a call at 209-533-2596 to set up a meeting with one of our staff members. To learn more about the Foundation, visit our website at