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How to research a charity for your year-end giving

Contributing to a charity by the end of the year can bring a tax deduction.
Credit: jwohlfeil - stock.adobe.com
Checkbook with a fancy pen writing in a dollar amount on the check, sitting on a light wood desktop.

INDIANAPOLIS — The final hours of 2022 are ticking away, and that means your inbox is probably filled up with requests from charities asking for a year-end donation. 

Contributing to a charity before the end of the year can bring a tax deduction. Before you choose where to give, take a moment to make sure the charities you want to support are spending money on the things that are important to you. 

Each year, charities are required to file Tax Form 990 that shows their finances and how they operate. The tax forms detail how money was spent, fundraising activity, compensation and bonuses for executives, and lots of other information. 

You can see these tax forms by looking up the charity on the IRS charity search tool, or by using websites such as Guidestar or ProPublica’s Nonprofit Explorer that will help direct you to the documents. Most 990 forms published online are two or three years old based on IRS delays, but you can often find a charity’s more recent tax returns on its website or request a copy directly from the organization. 

There are also several websites that do research for you, like Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau’s charity research tool. They compile ratings and reviews to provide a snapshot of each charity’s effectiveness. 

Charity Navigator says you can increase the impact of your donation by giving to charities that other people overlook, and by directing your contributions to organizations that focus on providing proven solutions to big problems that impact lots of people.

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