2014 End of Year Tax Donation Information

Updated December 18, 2014

IRA Rollover Approved by Congress, Heads to White House For Signing
With the White House threatening a veto of a bill to make the IRA Charitable Rollover and other provisions permanent, Congress turns to a one-year extenders package. Read more.

Related Resource: IRS Webinar: Help for Charities (Thursday, Dec. 18, 2 p.m. Eastern)

Reminders: Year-End Tax Topics
IRS Guidance:
· Tax Topic 506, Charitable Contributions
· Publication 526, Charitable Contributions
· Publication 561, Determining the Value of Donated Property
· Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions
· Form 1098-C, Contributions of Motor Vehicles, Boats, and Airplanes


Important information to keep in mind with end of the year donations…

2014 End of Year Donations

The IRS’s basic rule is that a gift must be “delivered” to the charity by 12/31. Cash and checks must be handed over to the organization by 12/31 if delivered in person or if sent using a private service like FedEx or UPS. If the donation is mailed through the US Post Office, it must have a postmark of 12/31. The organization will receive it after 12/31, but that is ok because the donor relinquished control (the IRS’s baseline threshold for determining a gift date) on the date s/he put the donation in the mail on or before 12/31. Credit card gifts must be “fully processed,” i.e., approved by the credit card merchant, for the gift to be considered “delivered” by the due date.

Donation Thank You Letters
During November and December, nonprofit organizations receive the majority of their philanthropic donations. It is important that they thank their donors and acknowledge the donation in a way that allows the donor the benefit of a tax deduction. In order to comply with the IRS, nonprofits need to include in their thank you letter the name of the organization, the date of the contribution, the amount of the contribution and a statement regarding whether or not goods or services were received for making the donation.

Here is a link to an IRS article titled Eight Tips for Deducting Charitable Contributions (updated in March 2014).

Here is a link to an IRS article titled IRS Offers Tips for Year-End Giving (updated in March 2014).

Here is a link to IRS Publication 1771 (PDF),Charitable Contributions–Substantiation and Disclosure Requirements.

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#GivingTuesday in Orlando and Throughout Central Florida

On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give. It’s a simple idea.

  Is your organization planning an activity for #GivingTuesday?

We want to help your nonprofit promote its event or activity!

We would like to help you promote your activities and what you are doing. Here’s what you can do to take full advantage of all the promotional opportunities of #GivingTuesday:

  1. Register with the national #GivingTuesday website as a partner organization. This way the worldwide organization will list you on their website and you will receive information directly from them. Visit http://www.givingtuesday.org/join/
  2. Register with the Rollins College Philanthropy Center. This may seem redundant but this way we can help you promote your activities right here in Central Florida. Your activity will also be listed on our website of Central Florida specific activities happening that day. Visit http://pnlc.rollins.edu/?page=GivingTues_activity
  3. Follow #GivingTuesdayCFL on social media:

When promoting your #GivingTuesday activities on social media, include hashtags for both the worldwide event, #GivingTuesday and the Central Florida activities, #GivingTuesdayCFL.

 You can also join the #GivingTuesdayCFL e-mail list at http://bit.ly/1uiZMoQ for additional information and resources.

If you are located anywhere in the Central Florida region; Orlando, Winter Park, Sanford, Kissimmee, Celebration, Apopka, Altamonte Springs, Maitland, anywhere in Central Florida, sign up and let us know about your plans for #GivingTuesday!

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Taking Planned Giving to the Next Level

With today’s financial demands squeezing charitable organizations’ budgets, many organizations are exploring opportunities to expand their methods and maximize prospects. Planned gift campaigns are frequently mentioned as a likely resource. However, staff professionals are challenged with limited resources to invest and sustain a long term commitment into a program where benefits may not be immediately realized, and Board members and others may not understand the process of securing these types of gifts. As a result, many some development directors have failed to incorporate planned giving into their annual development plans.

So, where to start?

Commit to a program. Begin with a simple plan with quarterly increments. Start with educating others about what planned giving is (and is not!). Planned giving is a service that, when properly done, can have a lasting effect on your organization. Planned giving is transformational for all parties!

Does it really begin with the Board?

Board members can be active in the process of identifying prospects, and perhaps even approaching the organization’s founders. Board members have roles as do staff professionals! While more sophisticated, traditional planned giving programs are staff driven, in small to medium-sized charities, CEO’s, development officers, and even other on staff have developed close relationships with prospective planned giving donors. E.g., a Board member may be the first to know that a certain individual is selling a business for a profit that will realize capital gains. If that individual is an established donor to your charity, with proper planning and communication, the donor can save taxes while making a transformative gift to your charity!

What do we need first?

Begin with creating the RIGHT plan designed specifically for your organization. Next, incorporate these activities into the multi-year fund development plan with measurable goals. Empower the organization and others through successful implementation.

Learn the strategies, techniques, resources and best practices at the upcoming session: Taking Your Planned Giving to the Next Level by Peggy Calhoun, ACFRE. Held on October 15th, participants will begin to understand and adopt the steps needed for success.

For more information or to learn more about Peggy Calhoun, please visit www.MillerCalhoun.com

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The Ice Bucket Challenge for Boards of Directors

The Ice Bucket Challenge for Boards of Directors

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 2.56.46 PMUnless you have absolutely no access to social media, you have probably seen more than you wished to see of friends, family, celebrities and folks you don’t even know dumping buckets of ice water over their heads. Though its origins are disputed, the great financial beneficiary of this summer’s icy trend is the ALS Association. So far the Ice Bucket Challenge has raised $100.9 million dollars for ALS compared to the $2.8 million raised during the same period last year.

But, now what? How will they handle this windfall? Will they be like so many lottery winners who turn a bonanza into a tragedy by not using the money wisely? The key to success for ALS is whether or not their board of directors is up for the true ice bucket challenge.

We have all imagined what we would do if we won the lottery. At your next board meeting ask members to take a few minutes to imagine what they would do if your organization was the next big winner of a social media challenge.

How will we spend the money? – What goals are in our strategic plan? The University of Michigan study When Promoting a Charity May Hurt Charitable Giving by Robert W. Smith and Norbert Schwarz (2012) found that if the goal of a campaign is raising awareness, contrary to popular wisdom, the charity raises less money than if the stated goal is to change a problem. What will the long-term effects of the ice bucket campaign be on the organization’s ability to raise money?

Should we create an endowment? According to their January 2013 financial statement the ALS Association had just less than a million dollars in restricted assets. They spent 47% of their money on research and patient and community service, an additional 32% on public and professional education and a 21% on fundraising and administration. What should be their spending priorities going forward?

How do we thank all the people who have donated? The ice bucket challenge had over 3 million donors. How will they be able to thank all those who gave? Will they be able to build a relationship with these donors so that they give again or will they move on to a different cause?

How many people know more about our mission and the problems we are trying to address? Do you know more about ALS than you did when the campaign began? Are they now closer to rallying people to support their efforts to find a cure or assist those who have this terrible disease? Can you even say what the letters ALS stand for?

As a board of directors, having a large amount of money suddenly donated to your organization is a wonderful problem to have. If they have discussed how to manage, invest, and spend donations, your board won’t be all wet when the donations stop.

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Recap of Leaders Series Lunch: Hear from the Experts

Leaders Series Lunch: Hear from the Experts! Image courtesy @RollinsCollege

Leaders Series Lunch: Hear from the Experts! Image courtesy @RollinsCollege on Twitter.

The Philanthropy Center was happy to host a social media panel discussion on Thursday, August 7, 2014. Panelists discussed their use of social media in their nonprofit organizations.

Panelists included Denise Bealin, Director of Development and Communications at United Arts of Central Florida; Maria Shanley, Online Services and Communications Manager with Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida; and Jennifer DeWitt, Social Media Manager at Rollins College.

A common theme in comments from the panel was about creating engaging content. From pictures to hashtags, creating content that engages the audience is a way to increase interaction with the various communities and not just one-way communications.

Crowdfunding sites were a popular topic as well with United Arts’ Power2Give resource in addition to sites like Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, and others. The panel discussed the opportunity to use these sites to promote specific campaigns or goals as a way to attract new donors. Also, they said it was important to keep your goals realistic, especially if it’s your first time using a crowdfunding site.

Panelist Maria Shanley from Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida commented on the ability to compare Facebook likes with donors. She provided a link to a blog post by John Haydon with details about how you can do this: http://www.johnhaydon.com/2014/04/18/donors-use-facebook/.

The importance of an editorial calendar was also stressed. It’s important to schedule social media posts to coordinate special events, fundraising campaigns, program awareness, and advocacy.

Almost all social media sites were mentioned during the panel with the main focus being on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The importance of sites like LinkedIn, Pinterest, blogs, and others were brought up for their importance in specific instances, but the panel agreed on what they considered the three most important social media sites for their organizations.

Social media and its role in #GivingTuesday was also discussed. This new event started in 2012 is a huge opportunity for nonprofit organizations. Social media plays a key role in driving traffic for #GivingTuesday. If you aren’t familiar with #GivingTuesday, you can visit the #GivingTuesday website for more information. You can also join the Central Florida #GivingTuesday e-mail list which will provide information to organizations about what is happening in our community for the event.

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