Monday, October 12, 2009

Help a Friend Out

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”—Winston Churchill

Financial times are tough, especially for writers. Two individuals that I know had a signed contract with a large publisher who decided to cut back. Now their book deals are dead. Another publisher followed that publisher's lead. My friend with a signed contract received an email, not a phone call. They would not be publishing the manuscript that she had already turned in. One writer who wrote full time, took a part-time, non-writing job to bring income in to support her family.

Two of my neighbor's husband's were laid off. Another neighbor struggles financially. Another friend's husband was laid off. As a single mom, I've had my financial struggles over the years and I'm so thankful for those who helped me out of really tough jams. How do you help your friends and neighbors who are too embarrassed or too uncomfortable to accept the gift of financial assistance?

Surprise those you love--give your gift anonymously

Giving Anonymously, (GA) celebrates pure giving. But more than that it allows you to give a monetary gift anonymously. It relationally connects people through giving to protect relationships from feelings of obligation.

If you have a little extra cash you'd like to share, you can be your own charity and give anonymously to those who can't pay their bills or adequately feed their families. Giving Anonymously sends them a check that includes every penny you sent, and you receive an email with a voice file of them thanking you. But they won't know who you are

How much can I give? The IRS allows a person to give up to $12,000 in 2008 and $13,000 in 2009 ($24,000 in 2008 and $26,000 in 2009 as a couple) to any number of people, every year, without facing any gift taxes. For example in 2009, you and your spouse together could give 100 different people each a check for $26,000 and none of it would be subject to tax nor would it need to be declared. A Recipient will never owe income tax on a gift no matter the amount and should not declare it as income on their tax return.

How do I know the person received my gift? Before mailing a check GA calls or emails the recipient to make sure the mailing address is correct and that they are willing to receive the gift. GA found that about 30% of gifts mailed without making contact with the recipient were returned or thrown out as junk mail. If GA has exhausted all means of making contact with the recipient we will refund the gift and contribution amount back to the donor.

What if the person receiving your gift doesn't call GA's toll free number to leave a 'Thank you"? When GA's bank receives the cashed check, GA emails you a scanned a copy of the check showing the recipient's signature.

So how does Giving Anonymously give every penny to your family or friends?

  • Volunteers run the organization.
  • They accept donations to cover the costs involved in providing this service
Giving Anonymous was featured on NPR's Marketplace and twice on the NBC Nightly News: Making a Difference. Check out NPR's audio interview and NBC's video clips.

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