As another tax deadline passes and future budgets are calculated, we’re all looking for ways to spend money wisely and pay fewer taxes next year. Donations and charitable contributions can result in tax write offs and tax breaks for the future, while also generating feelings of happiness despite the sacrifice.
You shouldgive, but maybe now is not the time. Every business or individual is at a different point along the road to financial success. This can have an impact on your donation abilities. Also, business structures and tax filing procedures can vary. Please consult your tax expert for accounting and tax rules, regulations and further advice.
We are all a little different, but one constant is that the feelings associated with giving are unique and gratifying.
The emotional: it feels good to give. Spending money can seem like a negative, but if it’s going to a good cause, one you’ve hand selected, it will be dollars well spent.
The practical: promotional and financial benefits associated with giving are an added bonus.
There are many ways to give and generate tax breaks. The following are some ideas that hit a little closer to home: ranch related or associated with family. Any donation is great, but ones with a cowboy/western influence can have that extra emotional pull on those of us living a western lifestyle.
Support a local participant
Sponsorships are needed for lots of individual competitors and teams. Get your logo displayed on a local ball team’s jersey or barrel racer’s shirt, etc. Many different levels of sponsorship are normally available. Choose the level you feel comfortable with. Find someone local that has similar passions, beliefs and goals- you’ll truly enjoy supporting them in and out of the arena or competition space.
Incorporate your passions. Find a foundation or cause that is personal to you.
Schwieter Land and Livestock enjoys supporting the WRCA Foundation. We believe in their mission statement “A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out” and also what the foundation does when assisting in crisis situations, natural disasters and the scholarship program.
We bid and purchase cowboy/ranch related items during the benefit auction. Not only do we come away with some awesome pieces, but our hearts are full, knowing our money is helping people in need.
Team Sponsorship: Time and Money
Without a lot of surplus dollars, time and effort (although not tax deductible) is a great contribution.
Years ago we coached our son’s basketball team, and purchased the team’s warm-ups. Not only did we donate the money, but also our time and effort. It was very rewarding and didn’t cost us much out-of-pocket.
Support a local event
Is isn’t hard to find agriculture/horse related events and functions to support. They often can’t happen without donations and local support. Here are a few ideas from our area. Team sorting events- added money sponsorships County Fair- purchase projects at the completion of the competition or simply buy space in a fair book or a banner Local FFA Chapter- purchase a class project from a student or have them do some custom work for you. Yes, you’re technically buying something with your dollar, but you can spend a little extra knowing who it is helping.
These opportunities will support local events plus get your name out there (if that’s something you want). Volunteers are always needed too. Don’t let your financial situation hold you back from helping.
Contribute to established organizations
Most communities have a general fund or organization that focuses on donations and distribution. We have county-wide groups that raise and allocate money to those in need. This is a more general approach, but they make it easy.
Support Your Church
Tithing and donating to religious organization is often considered a duty, but it can be very rewarding. Weekly, monthly or annual contributions can be made “in the plate” or even as direct payments from your bank account.
This leads to my next point:
Do Something Unique- Use What You Have
Get creative when giving. We sold a cow in the church’s name last year. We’ve also donated several pounds of hamburger for church events or youth group dinners. It is rewarding and makes people smile. Here’s a note we received following our cow donation:
Not quite there yet?
We have all been at the point where every single dollar matters and we can’t imagine giving anything away. We scrap to simply continue the lifestyle we’ve chosen. But everyone hopes to reach a point where giving is easy. The surplus of income won’t be the problem, determining the outlet will be. It is fun and rewarding to help someone- personally or through a trusted organization.
Donate your time and give what you can. Keep a list of donations for the future. You might have a list of desired purchases or a wish board. Do the same with contributions. Can’t donate now but feel passionate about something? Make a note and donate when you can.
Keep records of what you’ve donated throughout the year. Turn the receipts into your tax professional. You might find that giving, not only helps you sleep better at night, but it might also help your tax return.
Ready, Set, Go
There are many ways to make donations. Do a little research and find something that touches you and your family. Start out small if you want. You’ll be assisting people in need, but you’ll also be surprised at the feeling of satisfaction you’ll feel.