It sounds completely fake. Like some click-bait advertisement at the bottom of a website. “Increase your donations with this one weird trick” or, “The big deduction secret the IRS doesn’t want you to know.” Luckily for us, it’s not a scam. It’s just boring old math.
It’s so simple, in fact, that I can’t even turn it into a 300 word blog post. Ready?
Don’t fund, sponsor, or otherwise participate in charity events. Instead, just write a check directly to the charity.
Why? Overhead. The ghost that continues to haunt charities nationwide. Even the best run, volunteer supported, high efficiency events put on by the most effective charities still cost about 35% of the money raised. Many are much higher, and some barely break even. So by directly writing a check instead, you’re bypassing the additional overhead imposed by the event.
As a bonus, skipping the event gets you a higher tax deduction, because the IRS won’t let you deduct the food, drinks, and entertainment at an event. How much higher? You can calculate that right here.
Charities will continue to hold events because there are some donors who will only give that way. But you don’t need to be that guy. The next time you’re hit up for a table sponsorship, ask the charity if they would prefer just a straight check. Most will jump for joy! And if you’re clever, you can actually generate more positive buzz about a $10,000 gift that isn’t connected to any fundraising event. Ask the charity if they want to use it in a matching gift campaign, or to generate positive news stories. Either way, your donation will be worth at least 35% more.
P.S. Have you seen our free whitepaper on CSR best practices for small to mid-sized business?