Wise Giving

Dumb Friends League


Give wisely.

Being generous allows you to become a partner with a nonprofit, supporting their work and helping the community. Be a good partner by doing a little background on your rights as a donor and what nonprofits are required to bring to the table.

  • Information Donors Should Know will provide you with links to the Colorado Secretary of State's web page for nonprofits; the Donor Bill of Rights; a Fundraising Code of Ethics; a review of tax incentives for giving and an informational overview from the IRS.
  • Wise Giving Tips includes a note from the Better Business Bureau on things to watch for when making charitable donations.
  • Tips for Family Philanthropy offers ideas and suggestions for families to engage in to develop traditions and values around giving back to the community. 
  • Ways to Give lists a broad variety of methods and tools you might choose for making donations - Now and for the future.
  • Check the Charity is a special program of the Colorado Secretary of State, the State Attorney General and the Colorado Nonprofit Association. It is a program to help motivate giving, while maintaining careful assessment and review of the organizations you hope to support.


Tax Incentives for Giving

Charitable Contribution Deduction for Non-itemizing Taxpayers

Individuals who claim the standard deduction on their federal tax returns can deduct the total amount over $500 that they have contributed to charities during the tax year. This deduction is available for tax years 2009 and 2010 and for future years when the state has sufficient surplus revenue. Click here for more information on this deduction from the Colorado Department of Revenue on the Charitable Contribution Deduction

Deductions for Contributions Made to Organizations in Enterprise Zones

Enterprise Zones are economically distressed areas of the state. Colorado has 16 Enterprise Zones and 2 Sub Zones and offers tax incentives for businesses to locate and expand their operations and activities. Taxpayers who make a contribution to an Enterprise Zone project are eligible for a tax credit of 25% of the contribution amount for monetary contributions, and 12.5% for in-kind contributions, up to a credit limit of $100,000. Unused credits may be carried forward for up to five years and used for tax liability during those years. The credit is for contributions to nonprofit organizations, projects, and programs certified by the Enterprise Zone for job creation, job preservation, promoting child care, or the promotion of awareness programs for the homeless. Click here for a complete list of enterprise zones and tax credits.

Child Care Contribution Credit

Up to a $100,000 credit limit, taxpayers can claim an income tax credit of 50%of the amount of a contribution to promote child care. Eligible contributions must be for one of the following purposes:
• Establishing a child care facility.
• Grants or loans for financial assistance to parents in providing child care.
• Registered training programs for child care providers.
• Registered programs that spread and provide information about and referrals to child care
This credit is available in 2009 and 2010. From 2011 onward, tax credit will only be awarded in years where sufficient state revenues are available. If the credit is not awarded in a particular year, it may be carried forward up to five years and claimed in the next year where state revenues are sufficient. Click here for more information on the child care contribution credit.

Conservation Easement Credit

As defined in Colorado law, a conservation easement is a property where the owner has the right to prohibit certain acts in order to preserve its value for recreation, wildlife, open space, historical value, or other similar purposes. Individuals who donate a conservation easement in Colorado to a government agency or a charity are able to receive a credit based on the type of ownership of the land, fair market value, and the size of the easement. The donation must also qualify as a charitable contribution for federal tax purposes. Click here for more details on the Conservation Easement Credit.


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