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Nine Amazing Ways to Give Back in 2017

Submitted by: Gaurav Bhattacharya

Posted: Jan 11, 2017 – 06:00 AM EST

Tags: volunteering, nonprofits


Corporate houses and entrepreneurs are custodians of the future. They are responsible for creating a long lasting measurable change that could add value in the economic and social welfare arenas.

Companies involved in social welfare activities tend to have happier employees, loyal customers and more prosperity as compared to companies who don’t. This encourages the consumers to buy products from a Socially Responsible company.

Here in this blog post we describe 9 amazing ways which employers could use to give back in 2017.

Charitable donations directly to a nonprofit
This is the most tax deduction friendly way of making a difference. As long as you’ve made sure that the nonprofit is qualified, you’re good to go. How do you do that? There are a number of reliable sources. The best way to do that is get the nonprofit's Employer Identification Number or EIN and put it in the IRS database lookup available online (https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/). You can check the deductible limitation on each charity there as well. If you want to do a little more research, you can go to free tools like Guide Star (https://www.guidestar.org/) put in the same EIN and get additional details. What do you want to look at on these sites? Mainly the difference between the the income amount and Form 990 revenue amount. The lesser the difference between the both, the greater percentage of money is going back into the nonprofit and accounted for by the government.

What is the biggest mistake people make in donating money to nonprofts?:
Donating to an unqualified nonprofit. Do your research, or else, tax deductions can be a problem.

Finding a nonprofit that supports a cause you support
People working in nonprofits are amazing people. They’re always ready to listen to what you have to say and try to help you to make the impact you want. Here is something I always do with nonprofits in my area.  I find the ones that are working with cancer patients and donate. I also call them every once in a while to find where my money is going (a rudimentary way of impact tracking). They always tell you how your money is making an impact. It becomes more than just a donation. It turns into a relationship, and it’s fulfilling.

What is the biggest mistake people make in donating money to nonprofts?: Not saving your receipt from every donation you make.

  • Be on a nonprofit board

There are so many incredibly passionate nonprofits that are looking for smart, intelligent and capable people like you to be on their board. Being a part of the bigger picture in making a social impact is much more rewarding than tax-deductions, am I right?  What do you think?

Something to think about: Trying to be a part of a nonprofit board without understanding the key roles and responsibilities. If you’re going to be on a board, your top 2 jobs are going to be reviewing finances and maintaining the status of the organization. If you’re not comfortable with that, then this position is probably not a good fit for you.

  • Run a marathon, go to a fundraiser!

Being a part of any kind of opportunity that is raising money for doing something fun is a great way to be helping the community. There are such innovative opportunities out there to take advantage of. For example, my co-founder is all about feminism. She found this opportunity in San Diego called ‘Walk a mile in Her Shoes’. Yep! You read that right. They made you walk a mile in high heels. What was the organization raising money for? Women equality. Kinda perfect.

Biggest misconception: Buying fundraiser tickets isn’t the same as a donation. If your contribution entitles you to merchandise, goods, or services, including admission to a charity ball, banquet, theatrical performance, or sporting event, you can deduct only the amount that exceeds the fair market value of the benefit received.

Skills based volunteering with your team at work!

So you’re an engineer. Wouldn’t you rather donate your coding skills than donate blood? Wouldn’t you want to take your team at work with you and bond over helping others? Volunteer your skills for a cause you’re passionate about. Many companies have platforms available to enable their employees to volunteer and also incentivise them to do so. If they don’t, ask your HR to do it.

Food for thought: Some aspects of volunteering are tax deductible. Whatever you’re using for the volunteering, such as, gas, uniforms, staples, etc, all tax deductible!

  • Donate property

Donate your old clothes, and appliances to nonprofits. For any contribution of $250 or more (including contributions of cash or property), you must obtain and keep in your records a contemporaneous written acknowledgment. The qualified organization will indicate the amount of cash with a description of any property contributed. The acknowledgment must say whether the organization provided any goods or services in exchange for a gift. If so, it must provide a description in good faith estimate of the value of those goods or services. One document from the qualified organization may satisfy both the written communication requirement for monetary gifts and the contemporaneous written acknowledgment requirement for all contributions of $250 or more.

  • Make investments, and enrich local communities!

No need to spend money always for making investments. You could donate your time and skills to the needy ones. Search for several local communities in which you are comfortable in giving your services and add value to people’s lives. For example, if the community is suffering from an electricity problem then you can construct a small scale solar power plant to generate electricity. This way you could use renewable resources to impact the problem. If you are skilled at computer education then support IT education in the community. You can prepare students to welcome the world with knowledge and better way of communication through computers. If the community lacks good healthcare facilities then you should invest in bringing good health care facilities like treatment of chronic diseases and cardiovascular disease. Many people are losing their lives due to heart attacks, so contributing to lowering this percentage is a noble cause. We have seen that many small communities are becoming the victim of deforestation by unethical business practices solely focused on profit. So do your part, help out and start planting trees and protect them from unethical businesses. I promise, you will be highly appreciated by the community and Mother Earth.

  • Customize a volunteer plan, then promote it

Several nonprofit organizations evaluate businesses and employee’s strengths, then offer volunteer activities based on this data. For example, if you own an accounting firm, you could volunteer to help a nonprofit organization set up their accounting practices or do their taxes. In the same manner, if you own a restaurant, consider catering a school staff meeting to show your appreciation for your local teachers. This may open the door to future catering opportunities, an incremental way to increase revenue. Decide how much time your employees can volunteer through the business on an annual basis, taking into account your operation demands. Likewise if you are in the healthcare business, then you could supply healthcare resources to local hospitals and help poor people to obtain good healthcare.

Once your strategy is implemented then you can also evangelize it amongst your old and existing customers. They will come to know about how much time your employees are spending in working for the community. Your customers will gain trust on your good deeds and you might get lucky to be selected for a project for your selfless behavior.

People in nonprofits are gems, they recommend you more and help you to grow your business if needed. They always believe in giving back!

  • Run cleanliness activities, clean the world!!

Gift the next generation of employees with a clean and green environment where they can breathe and grow disease-free. Employers can organize several cleaning competitions with attractive prizes which motivate the employees to keep their surroundings clean. As said by a great author Suzi Orman, “Cleanliness is a state of purity, clarity and precision.” This means maintaining a clean environment in their surroundings gives rise to great ideas and enhances the work efficiency. Employers can ask their employees to volunteer some cleanliness initiatives for the welfare of their local community. Employers can purchase public dustbins and place them on the streets with their business names on it and guide local people to use dustbins for dumping wastes. You can take the idea from this link (https://cleantheworld.org/). They are doing it so why can’t you? A contribution to humanity, bring oneness in the society and work together to make a difference. As many great scholars said “To bring a change in society, you need to bring a change in yourself.”

Take a stand, set an example and the world will follow. Give our upcoming generation of humans an atmosphere where they feel happy to help others. By doing so it will create the feeling of love, affection and oneness for others that unite them for a better future. How will you change the world in 2017?

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by CSRwire contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of CSRwire.

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