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Year-end donations mean a lot to charities and non-profits

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- With the holiday season approaching many charities around town see an increase in donations, but did you know that by helping out a non-profit, you can save a few bucks yourself?

"As the holidays approach people tend to feel sense of thankfulness, what that often leads to is them wanting to give back, in some shape or form," said Financial Adviser with Ameriprise Financial Adam Mohr.

Mohr says whether it's money or personal items that you're parting with for a good cause this holiday season, save the receipts and you can use the donations as an itemized deduction on your tax return.

"If you're over 70.5-years-old and if you're forced to take out your Required Minimum Distribution you are eligible for special prevision, that allows you to direct that Required Minimum Distribution either all of it or portion of it to charities, thus saving you a substantial amount in taxes," explained Mohr.

As every dollar counts for you, the same goes for local charities.
Feed My People Food Bank says 40 percent of its donations come between the months of November and December; donations as big as $500 and as small as just a buck.

"With one dollar we're able to provide 10 dollars worth of food; in fact just yesterday we packed 450 emergency bags for seniors with an average cost of about 25 cents a meal," said Feed My People Food Bank Director Emily Moore.

"Right now we're looking for donations to pay the rent and building maintenance at our homeless shelters; we're looking for donation so we can buy mittens, and gloves and boots for kids in our hit start centers," said Dale Karls with Wisconsin Dairyland.

Karls says about 50 percent of it's donations come in December. But with grants and state funding being cut, all non-profits rely more on the generosity of people.

Financial advisers say the rule of thumb for annual donations is about 5-10 percent of you're income.

Mohr says give whatever you're comfortable giving, even the smallest amount can make a big difference.

Wisconsinites are generous people though; Mohr says last year Wisconsinites donated about 2.7 percent of their income to charities, compared to just 1 percent nationwide.

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