Archdiocese Local

Charitable giving takes many forms, but do your homework

End-of-year giving can take many forms, whether it be clothes, food, cash or other. Bill Maloney, executive director of the archdiocesan office of stewardship and development and the Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas, gives his thoughts on things to look for when considering your end-of-year giving.

As we approach year end, we enter a time of gratitude. It is a time when we express our love for our family and friends through gifts. It is also a time of year when we consider a gift to our favorite charity.

Why do we give to charities? We give because we believe in the mission of the charity. By giving, we are participating in this mission. We give because it enriches our lives. St. Paul writes in his Second Letter to the Corinthians: “You will be enriched in every way for your generosity” (9:11). While this is the primary reason for giving, there are other things to consider in planning year-end gifts.

For a look at important considerations for charitable planning, The Leaven spoke with Bill Maloney, executive director of the archdiocesan office of stewardship and development and the Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas.

The Leaven: What are the first things people should consider when planning charitable giving?

Maloney: Make a list of the charities you would like to consider, review the mission of each organization and then determine the best way for you to participate in that mission. Charitable organizations are always in need of volunteers. Giving the gift of time or of a special talent of yours can go a long way toward helping a charity fulfill its mission. Volunteer opportunities range from helping at an event or in the office to being a board member.

The Leaven: What are the most needed charitable items currently? Food? Clothing? Cash?

Maloney: Charitable giving at this time of year can benefit the most vulnerable in our community. Charitable organizations supporting those in need welcome monetary donations as well as gifts of food and clothing. There is an urgent need for food donations at this time.

The Leaven: If readers have some new ones they’re looking into, how can they investigate a charity’s credibility, including whether they are a 501(c)(3) charity?

Maloney: Most charities issue an annual report. In that annual report, you will be able to determine how they are stewarding the funds that are gifted to them. The annual report will list the expenses of the organization, which will give you an idea on the percentage of funds that are being used for the charitable cause versus their overhead.

The Leaven: How can they find out whether their donation will go toward what they want it to go for?

Maloney: When a charity solicits a gift, it generally provides a brochure or a case statement that outlines specifically how the funds will be used. If you have a specific purpose in mind, you can designate your gift. In either case, the charity is bound to honor the intent of your gift.

The Leaven: What documentation does a donor need to receive and save to deduct it on their taxes? Do they need to request a receipt or some sort of donation form when they donate?

Maloney: If you donate $250 or more to a charity, the charitable organization is required to issue you a receipt for your gift. If you would like a receipt for a donation of less than $250, most charities will certainly provide documentation of your gift. Each person’s tax situation is unique, so it is important to consult with a tax adviser to determine the value of your gifts.

The Leaven: What is the best and safest way to give — cash, check or online?

Maloney: There are many ways to support your favorite charity. The most common way to give is by check or online. Both of these methods are secure. In addition to these methods of giving, there are other ways to give that may offer important tax advantages. You may have an appreciated stock. If you are over 70-and-a-half years old, a Qualified Charitable Distribution from your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is a great option. For more information, you can visit the website at:

The Leaven: What if someone doesn’t have the time or skill to investigate a charity at this time but would like to make donations prior to year-end for tax purposes?

Maloney: A donor advised fund is a great option when you don’t have the time or experience to do year-end research or are unsure of what charity or charities to contribute to. A gift to your fund allows you to take a tax deduction with the flexibility of making gifts to your favorite charities over time. The Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas offers donor advised funds with investments that adhere to Catholic social teachings in accordance with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. You can find additional information online at:

The Leaven: Finally, what are your top recommendations for giving to Catholic organizations and agencies this year?

Maloney: The end of the year is a great time to consider a gift to your favorite Catholic ministry. You might consider gifts to your parish or parish school. Our Catholic high schools are all in need of funds, especially to help families with tuition assistance. In the same vein, the Catholic Education Foundation is also helping families throughout the archdiocese with tuition assistance. A gift to Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas is a great way to have an impact on the most vulnerable in our community. Walking with Moms in Need is a ministry that is being formed in many of our parishes. A gift to help with food and diapers will certainly make the holidays a little brighter for a mother in need. Finally, a gift to the archdiocese for the Archbishop’s Call to Share will support over 40 Catholic ministries.

About the author

The Leaven

The Leaven is the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

Leave a Comment