During the holiday season many Del Norte and Curry County residents, from all walks of life, support causes they care about with financial contributions, large and small.

For many nonprofits, a high percentage of donations are made in December (often in the last days or even hours of the year), which allows donors an opportunity to deduct their charitable contributions on their upcoming tax returns.

Locally, charitable donations can assist the non-profits that are on the ground doing the amazing work of helping others. You don't have to look too hard around our communities to find organizations doing really good work!

Charitable donations can help reduce the amount of taxes owed for the year, while supporting the health and strength of local projects. There are a few rules to follow to ensure that the IRS will recognize the tax deduction.

Here are a few reminders to help ensure that charitable giving done by Dec. 31 can give back April 15:

Contributions are deductible in the year made and therefore must be postmarked or hand-delivered by Dec. 31, 2013, to qualify as a deduction for 2013 taxes. Remember many nonprofits do not have an online giving option and may be closed Dec. 31.

Meet with your professional financial advisor early to discuss options of giving long-term appreciated stock.You can save on taxes in two ways.

First, you avoid paying any capital gains tax on the increase in the value of your stock. You also receive a tax deduction for the full fair market value of the stock on the date of the gift.

If you are over 70.5 years of age, you can make a gift from your IRA by transferring your IRA assets directly to charity. By going directly to charity, the money is not included in the IRA owner's income and is not taxed, preserving the full amount for charitable purposes. Your financial advisor and broker can assist you.

You can receive a tax deduction for 2013 and choose organizations you would like to support later by creating a donor-advised fund, which can make annual contributions throughout the year to charitable organizations. Wild River Community Foundation can assist with establishing a fund.

Only donations to nonprofit organizations are tax deductible. If you're not sure whether an organization qualifies as a charity, check its status at or ask for an IRS letter of determination.

Wild Rivers Community Foundation will be open Dec. 31 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. to receive contributions to any of the funds we manage. The foundation is located at 879 J St., Suite 1 in Crescent City.

Gina Zottola is the program officer at Wild Rivers Community Foundation. Contact her at or 707-465-1238.