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.
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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.
I think it is very important to keep track of the donations. One reason of course if for tax purposes. The 2nd is that I like to keep track, because many of the donations are an annual event put on by the charity. This way I can keep track of when it nearing and put aside the money I want to donate that year.
I keep asking the guy at the end of the pew for a receipt every time I drop money into the basket. He doesn't see the humor in it. The big metal clothes receptacles don't give me dirty looks but are just as unreceptive to my requests.
This sheet is a good way to track where you've already donated throughout the year and would help in making decisions about the next donation (already gave or oops haven't given yet to a favourite cause). It can also be useful at the end of the year to cross check and make sure you've received all the receipts you need for tax purposes.
I started using a charity donations software I discovered online years ago. I like documenting what I give to charity. I'm so over the top type"A" personality, it bothers me to have blank lines. The result is I donate more! It's a win win.
This is great to keep the record of things we do, throughout the year.
This list is nice to keep us organized and give us insight into our money matters more clearly.
I have also taken print of your other list and even given to my friends to stay organized. Thank you for great share.
Awesome. I must admit I just use an Excel spreadsheet but throughout the year, it gets neglected. I do file all receipts so at the end of the year we can trace it all.
What a great idea! It is clear and easy to follow.
Yes, I donate to one charity.
Thank you for sharing.
Very good idea. I think so many of us just accept a bit of disorganization as the norm, but we really shouldn't. I don't donate regularly, but maybe I should start. I will say that even in years that I donated more, I still didn't have enough to itemize on my taxes. That would probably change if I became a homeowner. As a renter, I always seem to end up with the standard deduction no matter what happens.
Great idea. I just save receipts but this is a great idea, although of course we need the receipts too.
Really like your worksheet Sabrina. My husband and I ASK for receipts whenever we give a gift to charity. And our accountant loves that.
I wish I'd seen this a week ago! laugh! As I was gathering all the information for my tax return, I too was sorting little receipts here and there for various donations! That chart is a winner. I'll keep it for next year!
Hi Sabrina - I managed a Charity for years and always provided tax receipts for any amount over $10.00. You don't mention whether you received any receipts. I like your system, it's nice and neat but it should always be accompanied by receipts, both for your financial tracking but also for the Charity. All donations should be documented.
Thanks for mentioning this. Tracking receipts are important. And, always having backup of documents. The purpose of the checklist wasn't about keeping track of the paid donations, it was about finding a way to quickly see what I donated to during the year. Not all charities give confirmation of receipt of payment so I keep the check information, as well as the request donation letter with the check info written on it as well. =)