Charity covers a multitude of sins, but it also reveals a multitude of virtues.
–Mark Twain, 1907
One has only to open a newspaper or watch the evening news to see that Mark Twain is still correct. Even now, there is so much work to be done. America has been and always will be the land of opportunity, thanks in large part to American businesses. They have many great opportunities to help their communities and give back to the people who work for them, as well as to the general public – and they can also take advantage of the tax benefits given to those who contribute. So, why not be a dynamic contributor to your community?
“Cash is king,” but it’s not the only way a corporation can give to a community.
Contributions are not limited to cash donations. Companies can also donate their own products or services. This is a great way to help somebody, while marketing your company at the same time. Another valuable resource is time – consider allowing your employees to participate in voluntary charitable functions such as feeding the needy at a Rescue Mission, or events such as a “Clean Up the Community” day. Just get ready to realize increased employee satisfaction, higher employee retention, better recruiting, higher productivity and a significantly higher level of corporate satisfaction. Will you be moving soon or maybe upgrading your office equipment? Consider donating any unwanted items such as office equipment, supplies and furniture. Even larger items such as vehicles are a good way to make a contribution.
Another form of contribution involves serving on the board of directors or related committees for non-profit agencies. Senior executives and other important members of the community can provide invaluable service to a charity by giving it credibility, helping to inform their peers about it and assisting in fundraising activities. Besides providing a personal sense of accomplishment in helping to better the community, it can also be fulfilling to you as a method of networking with other business leaders.
Many charities have been created to help corporations understand and reach the needs of their community. Some organizations give shelter to the homeless, while others provide meals every day to people and families who are struggling to survive. Some national organizations, such as the United Way, provide several types of goods, services and funds to those in need. A new organization in Southern Nevada, The American Help Foundation, provides job placement services and financial wellness programs for families. Local churches may suggest ways to help needy members of their congregations. I recommend that companies thoroughly understand the mission and purpose of any charity prior to making a contribution, and conduct due diligence to research its background.
Corporations can utilize the financial benefits of contributing as an income tax deduction. A company’s allowable deduction is limited to 10 percent of its annual taxable income. I recommend companies consult with their CPAs to ensure they adhere to the specific tax regulations regarding the deduction. Just keep in mind that if you donate an item other than cash, you will need to keep good records. Uncle Sam requires appropriate documentation to support the value of the donation given, which often requires an appraisal attached to your tax return.
So, my fellow business owners and executives, let’s make a greater effort to be charitable in the coming year and I will make this commitment – you will get back more than you give. After all, you will be remembered not for your bottom line, but for what you gave back to others.
American Help Foundation
3441 S. Eastern Ave., Ste. 450
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Web site: american-help.org
The Southern Nevada chapter of the American Help Foundation, which opened its doors in January, prepares people for the job market by providing training in office skills, including computer instruction, and by conducting mock interviews. It helps place individuals with the assistance of local staffing firms and resort properties. The non-profit group recommends clients to counseling centers to resolve personal issues and to credit-counseling firms for financial advice. Clients are recommended by agencies working with the homeless and by church welfare organizations.