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Ecology of Money

7 Tips for Better Charitable Giving

Contributor John Wasik outlines some steps on building a thoughtful plan for giving to charity.

For most people, giving to charities is a pretty simple matter: Write a check or donate cash, goods, other assets, or time.

Nearly $400 billion was donated by Americans to various causes in 2016, representing nearly 2% of the U.S. gross domestic product, according to Charity Navigator. And those donations came through a variety of ways, ranging from personal checks to distributions from sophisticated trusts.