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12 Days Of Charitable Giving 2013: Electronic Frontier Foundation

Dec 23 2013, 9:01pm CST | by

12 Days Of Charitable Giving 2013: Electronic Frontier Foundation
Photo Credit: Forbes
 
 
 

It’s the eighth day of our 12 Days of Charitable Giving! In December, I’ll be focusing on twelve charitable organizations which my readers have nominated as most deserving of your charitable donation. You have a little over a week to squeeze in your charitable deduction for tax purposes in 2013 – so why not consider one of our twelve?

Today’s featured charity is the Electronic Frontier Foundation, or EFF.

EFF was founded in July 1990 – as the organization describes it, “well before the Internet was on most people’s radar” (you can read more here about the case that started it all).

The EFF is perhaps most well known – and why my readers gave the charity a nod this year – for leading the fight against the National Security Agency’s illegal mass surveillance program. While the program has existed since 2001, most Americans have only been made aware of it over the past year. EFF, however, has been making efforts to bring government surveillance programs back within constitutional limits since 2006 when it was revealed that AT&T was copying private emails and assisting the government in monitoring domestic and international internet activities of AT&T customers. Since that time, EFF has continued to fight against warrantless electronic searches and surveillance.

Today, EFF leads the way on issues defending

free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights. This includes defending the rights of bloggers and coders, promoting freedom of expression worldwide, and advocating for copyright and patent laws that promote rather than chill innovation.

So how can you help?

EFF has a number of volunteer opportunities available which are managed through email lists. You can sign up according to your interest and expertise. The lists include:

  • Cooperating Techs list: a low volume list that connects people with technologists.
  • Short-term General Volunteers list: an “as needed list” for volunteers to assist with technical and research projects, membership campaigns, t-shirt folding, etc. (largely San Francisco based).
  • EFF Cooperating Attorneys list: a post-only email list for attorneys.

You can make a donation online or mail your check in using this handy donation form (downloads as a pdf).

Even better? If your employer has a matching gift program, your gift could be doubled. You can find out if your employer participates by entering your company’s info here.

If you have airline miles, flight vouchers, or hotel points that you don’t need, consider making an in-kind donation. EFF often travels to outreach events and speaking engagements and can use your support.

And in a sure sign that lots of attorneys volunteer for EFF, the planned giving page on their web site is fairly extensive. If you’re interested in setting up a charitable trust that benefits EFF and a non-charitable beneficiary, a technique EFF refers to as “a combination of a gift and an investment,” check it out (nudge: I’m a big fan of charitable trusts).

You can also show your by becoming a member of EFF or giving a gift of membership. Member benefits include an EFF bumper sticker, invitations to member Speakeasy gatherings, discounts on EFF events, and even special gifts at each level. And in a pretty cool nod to innovation, you can pay by credit card, Paypal or Bitcoin.

Finally, if you want some merch but don’t wish to become a member, consider shopping at their online store. Remember that purchases for adequate consideration (or fair market value) don’t qualify as a charitable donation even if the proceeds are directed to the organization.

As always, you want to make sure that your donation is going to a qualified charitable organization. A search using the IRS’ Exempt Organizations Select Check reveals that EFF is on the IRS list of qualified charitable organizations. To find out more about the work of the organization, check out their website, follow them on Twitter or like them on Facebook.

As we go along this month, I encourage you to check out the charities that made our list this year:

Remember, submissions to the 12 Days of Charitable Giving are made by readers and in most cases, I can’t personally vouch for the good work that these folks do. So be generous. But be smart. Do your homework.

For more on the tax considerations in making charitable donations, check out some of these prior posts:

Want more taxgirl goodness? Pick your poison: You can receive posts by email, follow me on twitter (@taxgirl) hang out with me on Facebook and check out my YouTube channel. You can also subscribe to the podcast on the site or via iTunes (it’s free).

Source: Forbes

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