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donating effectively to avoid fees?

Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:38 pm
by lazylarry
Hi all,
I'm trying to donate (relatively) larger amounts of money, e.g. 10k+ to national/international charities (e.g. unicef). However, when I try to donate online, I'm running into fairly significant processing fees (e.g. $500-1000) if I try to donate by card but can't donate by check (or I don't see an option at least). I saw that some charities allow donating from the bank - is there a way to do that or does anybody how to locate charities that would do that? I would definitely want some form of receipt so I can claim it on taxes.

On a side note, are there any credit cards that are more efficient for charitable giving (e.g. give you a cash back if donating). I'm not talking like 1% cash back, but rather *if* I make a donation, then they provide greater cash back. I currently have 2% cash back cards so anything higher would be helpful.

Re: donating effectively to avoid fees?

Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:40 pm
by livesoft
Do you have a Donor-Advised Fund? Do you know what that is?

Re: donating effectively to avoid fees?

Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:43 pm
by galawdawg
lazylarry wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:38 pm Hi all,
I'm trying to donate (relatively) larger amounts of money, e.g. 10k+ to national/international charities (e.g. unicef). However, when I try to donate online, I'm running into fairly significant processing fees (e.g. $500-1000) if I try to donate by card but can't donate by check (or I don't see an option at least). I saw that some charities allow donating from the bank - is there a way to do that or does anybody how to locate charities that would do that? I would definitely want some form of receipt so I can claim it on taxes.

On a side note, are there any credit cards that are more efficient for charitable giving (e.g. give you a cash back if donating). I'm not talking like 1% cash back, but rather *if* I make a donation, then they provide greater cash back. I currently have 2% cash back cards so anything higher would be helpful.
UNICEF...the organization that had me collecting spare change in a box as a child over fifty years ago to "end childhood hunger" and yet they are still collecting to "end childhood hunger"??? I wonder about the effectiveness of such charities. But, I digress....

Did you try unchecking the box that says "cover processing fee"? Paying for the processing fee appears to be optional.

Re: donating effectively to avoid fees?

Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:52 pm
by sailaway
The advertisers won't let you say "to lessen the impact of..." I was once on a committee and the chair insisted that we had to raise money to end boating deaths, else answer the question of how many are acceptable. Childhood hunger and malnutrition are significantly reduced.

To the OP, I use a cc that gets 5.25% back for online purchases. Unfortunately, our local food bank is classed as education, which is a service, which is not eligible for the full cashback. But all of our other charities are processed as online payments.

For large donations, you can always contact them directly to talk about options.

Re: donating effectively to avoid fees?

Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:54 pm
by prd1982
search for: donate to unicef by mail
to find the form to mail with your check.

DAF is also a good choice if you have appreciated stocks in a taxable account. But there is a fee for this as well (by Vanguard, etc). If you are over 72, using a QCD from your IRA is the best choice as part of your RMD (which has been suspended this year).
galawdawg wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:43 pm UNICEF...the organization that had me collecting spare change in a box as a child over fifty years ago to "end childhood hunger" and yet they are still collecting to "end childhood hunger"??? I wonder about the effectiveness of such charities. But, I digress....
Perhaps "reduce childhood hunger" would be more accurate, but not as inspiring. But still a worthy goal in my opinion.

Re: donating effectively to avoid fees?

Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 3:04 pm
by GerryL
I avoid participating in fund-raising drives like "Giving Tuesday" because you are asked to pay extra for processing fees. Charities may get extra $$ "awards" for having the most individual donations or other such competitions, but then you end up paying a flat fee on a minimal gift. I'd rather just give a larger amount directly to my preferred organizations. Now I ignore all those "Please donate to XYZ Charity for my birthday" appeals. It looks like small-donation giving has become big business ... for someone.

Re: donating effectively to avoid fees?

Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 3:25 pm
by celia
Using credit cards or bank withdrawal is incurring expenses for those companies so it is only fair that you pay a fee. Why don’t you write a check and spend $0.55 to mail it? And if you are over 70.5 and have an IRA that will require RMDs, that is a good place to withdraw a QCD. The custodian will have to print out a check, drawn against your IRA, and mail it to you. After you photocopy it for your records, you mail it to the charity. You won’t pay taxes on the QCD instead of taking an itemized deduction.

Note that not every ‘charity’ is eligible to have it’s donations deducted. In particular, the IRS only acknowledges US charities as it has no information about foreign ones and if they meet their definition of one. In particular, you could be donating to a charity that supports terrorists activities. But it is easy to confirm if a charity qualifies by looking in the IRS database of qualified charities.