The most frequent method of giving a recurring gift is to do so by credit card. Donors set a gift amount and authorize how often the Foundation may charge it. Sometimes it's a finite arrangement—for instance, we are authorized to charge $25 a month for six straight months beginning in April. Increasingly, however, Members are authorizing us to charge monthly or quarterly gift amounts until further notice. In these cases, the Foundation provides a cumulative annual gift receipt for tax purposes, and touches base with the donor for an update before the credit card's expiration date.
Monthly, quarterly, and annual checks of support can also arrive at the Naval Institute automatically in the mail. Using this method, the donor arranges for the recurring gifts through his or her estate- or financial-management company.
For more information or assistance in setting up a recurring gift to benefit the Naval Institute, please contact Sue Sweeney at (410) 295-1054 or at firstname.lastname@example.org . She can also be reached at Naval Institute Foundation, 291 Wood Road, Annapolis, MD 21402.
Take Tax Benefits Early and Often
The following is one of dozens of pieces of tax and estate-planning advice available at the Naval Institute's website, www.usni.org . Click on "Donate," then "Planned Giving" for more information.
Charitable giving is not just a year-end event. Since decisions with tax consequences are likely to occur throughout the year, it's important to have a plan in place that you can act on, regardless of the season.
Now is a perfect time to start a checklist documenting any 2009 activity with tax consequences, so you receive full credit for all charitable transactions. Tax advisors say a common pitfall is failure to follow IRS rules for substantiating gifts, resulting in a missed opportunity to claim a contribution.
Here are some points to keep in mind:
Make all of your gifts to qualified charitable organizations - ones that are recognized by the IRS. Do not hesitate to ask an organization for proof of its charitable status prior to making a gift, or check the IRS Web site ( www.irs.gov ) and search for Publication 78. (Both the U.S. Naval Institute and its fundraising arm, the Naval Institute Foundation, are classified by the IRS as 501[c] charitable entities.)
Keep receipts, cancelled checks, and credit card statements as proof of any cash gifts. In addition, if your gift is $250 or more you must have a dated receipt from the organization stating the amount and whether you received anything of value in return for it. (The Naval Institute Foundation provides written acknowledgment of all gifts, regardless of size.)
Please keep the Naval Institute in mind for your charitable giving. Your tax-deductible gifts strengthen our organization now. By including the Institute in your estate planning, you help keep the Institute viable in the future.