Give your all

The holidays are here, and you might be wondering: is it really better to give than it is to receive? When you get a present, it might make you happy for a short time. But when you give by donating money or volunteering for a cause you believe in, the rewards last longer than any toy, gadget, or check from Grandma! In this issue of The Vault from Biz Kid$, we talk about how to find opportunities to give time and money to good causes.

Fast Fact

Some people are really serious about giving to charity. Scroll down to find a link where you can learn more about an incredible donation!


Now Is the Time

With the economy in bad shape, many people don’t have much to spare for donations. Yet this is the time when social service organizations need help the most, because demand is high. If you can spare your time, talents, or skills, it’s a great moment to pitch in.


What is a nonprofit organization?

Nonprofit organizations put profits–the money left over after expenses–back into programs and services rather than distributing them to shareholders and executives. That’s because they exist for some other purpose than just to make money–usually a social or educational cause like feeding the hungry or promoting literacy. Most colleges and universities are nonprofits, too. When you give money to a not-for-profit, it’s called a “donation,” and you can usually deduct it from your taxes.


What do you care about?

If you’re going to be giving away your time and money, it helps to have a cause you’re passionate about. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding one–as of 2006 there were almost a million charities in the United States! There are charities for people, pets, education, literacy, sports–you name it.

Time–as valuable as money

One of the very best things to give is time. Organizations are always looking for volunteers to help. That could mean tutoring, packaging food, stuffing envelopes–whatever. Some opportunities might require you to go with a parent or guardian–so get the whole family involved! It’s a fun way to meet people, learn new things, help a good cause, and even build up your resume. Here is a great site for finding volunteer opportunities in your area:

How to find the right giving opportunity

If you’re giving your time and money to an organization, you should think of it as an investment. Are they legitimate? Is your money being spent on the cause, or on administrative expenses inside the organization? A good way to find out is to use a charity rating Web site like But some smaller or more local charities might not be listed–that doesn’t mean they’re not great choices. The important thing is to find a cause you believe in and make sure the charity is for real. 

Ask John Paul

Q: What are “tax-deductible contributions?”
A:  When you give money to a charity that has obtained tax-exempt status from the Federal Government, you can deduct the amount you gave from your taxes (subject to certain limitations).  For example, let’s say that your income for 2008 is $20,000. If you gave $100 to the YMCA, $100 to the ASPCA, and $100 to United Way, your taxable income will be $20,000 – $300 = $19,700. Usually, you can only deduct contributions up to a certain percentage of your gross income, and you must be eligible to submit itemized deductions.


John Paul Pigéon is a 12-year-old financial guru from Fort Worth, Texas who helps kids learn about money and business. Visit his Web site at Send your question to It may be selected for our next newsletter!



Link to This Month’s Fast Fact

Click this clink to see some of the most amazing donations in history–including Warren Buffet’s $30 billion pledge!

Info to Go

This page has a great list of ideas for volunteering: 


Here’s some great info from the U.S. government on figuring out if a charity is legitimate or not:


Here’s everything you need to know about tax-deductible contributions:
And don’t forget to check out the BizKids Web site where you can get the latest scoop on all things biz:

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