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Torqumada286

For Those That Use Their Light Displays For Charitable Purposes

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Just curious what the experiences of those who use their love of Christmas to do charity for others.

Do you contact the various charitable organizations ahead of time or after the fact?

Torqumada

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Last year it was suggested that I should collect for some charity.

I decided to support our local food bank.

They supplied the box and posters.

Collected a little last year.

Last night I collected MORE that all of last year!

Makes me feel proud of the support from people watching the display.

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You have to contact the charity first to get their permission/fill out some paperwork and you should be ready to go.They are all more than happy to have you collect donations on their behalf.

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We have collected for Toy's for Tot's for the last 4 years. They have even been kind enough to send Marines out on the night we turn on th elights to help collect toys from the prople waiting. We start contacting end of October begining of November.

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Thanks for that information. I'm probably two years away from being able to do something like that. I like the idea of being able to use your lights to help others. Another question: Do you ever take tax deductions for these charitable activities?

Torqumada

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I have been doing a charity event for the last nine years now. I added a show to draw attention to the event. Also, the show is not at my house. That makes it very easy for me to justify to the IRS my expenses.

You should consult your tax advisor.

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You cannot claim the money you collect because it's someone else's money.You are merely the person who collects the money and pass it on to the charity.Now if you donated money out of your own pocket, then you can claim that.This is from an IRS guy that I know.

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We collect for our local food shelf & have contacted them ahead of time asking for permission. By contacting them, it allows then to list our display in their newsletter.

Last year we collected 60 pounds & $30.00 for the entire season, this year we are at 150 pounds & about $35.00. Most of that came today when I got home from work. I went out to get the mail & there was a large box in my donation space, someone dropped off a 60 pound box of food, how nice.

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We have collected for Make-A-Wish and a local food bank for several years, never had any problems and they are always thankful for any and all gifts and you do not have to make any federal tax reports, your state may require something but not here.

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We have supported our local City Mission for 3 years with a 1 night event called Christmas in the Sky. This is the first year we have placed a donation box out in addition to our 1 day event...

The first year we contacted them they they expressed a need for personal care items (soap, deodorant...things of that nature) because they can't get those things from the food bank. They were grateful for the contributions and glad we had called.

Our event has now been declared non-profit by our zoning administrator and we have a non-profit PayPal account set up, as well as a separate bank account in the name of our charity. We did this to keep complete records of all funds received. It is quite a bit of work but we wanted to do something that benefited the folks who are in need, right here in our own community.

A benefit: our tax consultant said we can legally write off 50% of lighting equiptment because of our charity event. I didn't even think about this but when we mentioned that we used our own money for event supplies (cookies, hot chocolate, etc) he said what about the lighting equipment? I was pleasantly surprised and this was never even a consideration when we started our charity event 3 years ago. Obviously, check with your tax consultant/preparer if you are considering something like this.

Although our event is declared non-profit, we have not been set up as a non-profit corporation (501 (3) ©) under federal tax code. It gets complicated...

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2010 was the first year we collected for a charity - our local food pantry. It was extremely well received. We started for the Halloween display and then for the Christmas season. A couple dozen boxes of can goods for both and about $3k total. Pick something that either means a lot to you or would benefit the community. We live in a small town (2500 or so) and it really meant a lot to the folks that donated as well as the town.

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We have collected for Toy's for Tot's for the last 4 years. They have even been kind enough to send Marines out on the night we turn on th elights to help collect toys from the prople waiting. We start contacting end of October begining of November.

You obviously don't turn your lights on that early. How do you collect when the display is dark? Thought about TfT and realized they gave stuff out in Mid December.

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This is the first year we have collected for a charity, a close family friend has a beautiful 2 year old girl with down syndrome, so we are collecting for the utah down syndrome foundation, didn't think about contacting them but didn't think it would be a good deal, maybe will call them on Monday, think the hardest part was comin up with way it would be secure, ended up buying a big lockable mailbox and welded 1/4 inch thick steel base and a steel tube to box so I can run cable through it and around my tree, sos far so good and everyone has left it alone, about $100 so far this season

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You obviously don't turn your lights on that early. How do you collect when the display is dark? Thought about TfT and realized they gave stuff out in Mid December.

In my area, the cut off for toy drop off was the 12/19/11. That gives you some time. Edited by cacoulter

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We have collected for Toy's for Tot's for the last 4 years. They have even been kind enough to send Marines out on the night we turn on th elights to help collect toys from the prople waiting. We start contacting end of October begining of November.

We Love Toys for Tots, they had Guys out several nights taking in toys with us, I think our total this year was around 4000 toys, we love them and they love us, great to work with, but You must contact them, our guys provide boxs, posters, banners, a ton of stuff.

419146_3348819439952_1252817071_3673345_581376119_n.jpg

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We Love Toys for Tots, they had Guys out several nights taking in toys with us, I think our total this year was around 4000 toys, we love them and they love us, great to work with, but You must contact them, our guys provide boxs, posters, banners, a ton of stuff.

419146_3348819439952_1252817071_3673345_581376119_n.jpg

That is IMPRESSIVE!!!!

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We Love Toys for Tots, they had Guys out several nights taking in toys with us, I think our total this year was around 4000 toys, we love them and they love us, great to work with, but You must contact them, our guys provide boxs, posters, banners, a ton of stuff.

HoLy CrAP!! And I thought my 1500 lbs of food + all the cash donations was impressive for my display... This is by far the best haul I've seen for display donations. Great work!

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I collected for St. Judes. Childrens Hospital last year. They are very appreciative and send thank you's to anyone who chose to give by check. I did not contact them beforehand as donations were optional. I was going to collect for the local food pantry but didn't want to haul food in every night and store it. I live in farmland and have TONS of mice and critters about. I was a lot easier to collect the cash and checks from the drop box

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We have so much fun, this year we had 5 trailers, mine was doble decked, we deliver them and get to watch folks get toys for the children. And yes thats me coming down the ramp.

396669_3056367448835_1252817071_3553154_2104885191_n.jpg

423350_3364090501719_1252817071_3679298_732723084_n.jpg

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Guest A.F.NUT

I collected for Make A Wish this past year. I contacted them in the fall and they sent the paperwork for me to fill out. Then they sent a few signs and a tax form for donors. I was suprised at how much money the display made for a first year. I plan on collecting for them again this year. They were very appreciative and it made me feel good, having little ones in the family that were granted wishes. I wanted to give back.

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Guest A.F.NUT

We Love Toys for Tots, they had Guys out several nights taking in toys with us, I think our total this year was around 4000 toys, we love them and they love us, great to work with, but You must contact them, our guys provide boxs, posters, banners, a ton of stuff.

419146_3348819439952_1252817071_3673345_581376119_n.jpg

That is just AMAZING! You must have been so proud!!!

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