While doing our taxes this year, I realized that we donated to many charities throughout the previous year. Most of these donations did not happen regularly, maybe once every few months. But, by the end of the year, we had donated to 19 different charities! Yes, that's right, 19!
The fact that I donated to 19 charities didn't bother me. What did bother me was I didn't know when and how much I donated previously so I could donate the same amount again. To make matters worse, I didn't donate consistently throughout the year so it was even harder to keep track which charity I donated to and when I sent it. It was quite confusing.
So, to stay on track with my goal to simplify this year, I decided to develop a more efficient system for tracking cash donations. By managing my donations, I donated more once a year and wrote fewer checks. This is the breakdown of my organizing cash donation system.
First, I gathered the previous year charity names and amounts donated from my money management software.
Then, when I received donation request letters, I reviewed the cash donation list to see if I donated this year. If not, I paper-clipped the letter and envelope to the list as a reminder when I did bills.
Below is what I use for my cash donation tracking.
The "Charity Name" column is for self-explanatory. In the next column, I added the total amount I donated last year. This helped me stay on track with my budget for donations.
The next three columns are used for tracking what I donated this year. I added the amount donated, the checks or credit card transaction I used, and the check/transaction date.
This worked perfectly. I feel like I have more control over what and when I donate.
Do you give cash donations to charities? How do you keep track of those transactions? Please leave a comment below and join the conversation.
NOTE: This checklist is for tracking during the year. For tax purposes: be sure to keep any and all donation request letter (write check number, date mailed, and amount on it) from your donated charity, as well as, the address you are mailing it to. This is needed for your tax return at the end of the year. Some charities send a confirmation of your donation letter, if you receive them, be sure to save that as well. Sort in the folder in date order.