An Easy Trello Workflow To Maximize Charitable Giving And Minimize Tax Headaches

Track charitable donations in Trello

Start the new year off right by following through on your resolution to donate more to charity. Trello is here to help:

One huge, time sensitive “to do” that can get lost in the end-of-year mix is making charitable donations. For tax reasons these checks need to be written before the end of the year, but there’s a lot to keep track of in order to maximize your giving. The solution? Start early in the year, and keep everything in one place. Here is a simple way to structure a Trello board to keep track of charitable donations, streamline your tax filing, and stay organized year after year.

Get Organized Early

Instead of spending time digging through inboxes and rummaging through file cabinets to find receipts at the end of year, set up a Trello board at the start of the new year. Using Trello to store all documentation can save a lot of time when you’re ready to pledge, and especially when it’s time to file your taxes.

Start by creating a list that holds donation requests. Throughout the year it is common to receive email and snail mail requests for donations from various causes. It’s not always the right time at the moment you receive something, but maybe you want to remember this cause later. Perhaps it’s something you would like to research further before giving. Throw all of these in a list titled “Donation Requests” so you never let an opportunity to pledge to a great cause slip through the cracks. At the end of the year when you’re ready to tackle these donations, you’ll thank yourself for adding those cards.

Pro tip: use the email to card feature to immediately forward an email you get from an organization straight to a card on your “Donation Requests” list:

Use email to board in Trello to track charitable donations

Keep Track Year By Year

The next list to add is “Places I/We Want To Donate.” Any cards from the “Donation Requests” list to which you’re certain you will be donating should be moved to this list. If you use Trello each year, then you can copy your board from last year and easily see to whom you have donated previously and immediately move them into this list, ensuring another donation this year. If you put information about the charity in the card’s description, this will carry over when the board is copied.

You can make other lists for any type of donation related initiatives: food and clothing drives, annual memberships (like museums), or 5K Runs. Donations to many of these organizations are tax deductible, thus it is important to keep all relevant information handy come tax season.

Trello labels help track charitable donations by type.

Pro tip: Use labels to distinguish different causes, in case you need to do a quick search, or just want to see how distributed your giving is.

Stay Ahead of the Game, And Yourself

The next list is “Donated,” and cards are moved here when you have pledged. On the back of the card, add the amount donated, and attach the receipt or confirmation number. Any documentation you may want at your fingertips when it’s time to file taxes should be placed on the card back.

This is also an especially useful practice if you are coordinating with a spouse or other family members on your donations. If they took some time to write out some checks for the both of you, then moving the cards to “Donated” means it’s easy to see which charities have already been taken care of. Alternatively you can tag each other to different cards, so there is some transparency on how the workload is being divvied up.

Store charitable donation receipts in Trello.

Pro tip: take a picture from your phone directly to the card itself. This is especially useful for quickly keeping track of paper receipts. The snapshot is immediately uploaded onto the card.

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No Fuss Filing

The final list is called “Filed” and this is where cards are moved after they have been itemized on your tax returns. Won’t you be pleased with yourself when you see all the receipts and documentation attached to each charity’s card back? Not only are you saving yourself a hassle during the end of the year bustle, but you’re also taking the pressure off during that other hectic time: tax season. You’re essentially killing two stress inducing seasonal birds with one Trello board.

Staying organized when it’s time to itemize charitable donations in your tax returns isn’t exactly the most glamourous way to start the new year off right, but it is one of the most effective. Trello provides a simple solution to keep the process clear and organized throughout the year. This also makes it easier when coordinating with a spouse or an accountant. Whether it’s time to donate, or it’s time to file, all the information is right there for you, neatly stored in a Trello board.

So before you dump that ice bucket over your head, remember to make a card in a Trello board with your donation. You might be a little too chilly to do it after!

We created a sample board that you can copy to get you started:  

Charitable donations sample Trello board

Charitable Donation Sample Board - Copy me! (how to copy boards)

Are you using Trello to maximize your charitable giving, or organize your tax returns? Tell us on Twitter, Facebook, or in the comments below.

Special thank you to Daniel and Lena LeCheminant for sharing this awesome workflow. 

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