As I mentioned once before, I'm trying to live up to the old-school charitable giving standard of "tithing." That is, giving 10% of one's gross income to charity.
As it happens, I don't think my tax return will quite reflect that, because not all of what I see as "charitable" giving counts in the eyes of the IRS. Traditionally, as I understand it, charity is supposed to follow out from your life in concentric circles, starting with family, then friends and then community. That doesn't mean that regular gifts count as charity. They don't. Rather, you should help those in need in order of those circles of life around you.
So I've given to some people in need who are just individuals, not "charities" in the legal sense. Even so, a good person whose life has gone in the tank through no fault of their own is as deserving as any big charity, if not more so. So I've given to some individuals (of course, I'd never share their identities--that would be crass), and I'm counting that toward my personal tithing goal.
I know it's my own goal, so it's not like I'm being graded on this, but I have a fair level of spontaneous guilt, so I don't want to feel like I'm cheating. That's not cheating, is it? I think I should be able to count any gift to someone who really can use the help in their life. Right?