Step 1: Decide on a cause.
There are an endless number of charities that support numerous different causes, each of which is important. It’s not possible to donate money to every worthy cause, so you should pick one, or several, with which you most strongly identify.
Step 2: Research the charity.
Not all charities are equal, and some of them are downright dishonest. The American Institute of Philanthropy recommends that at least 60 percent of any donation should go to the charity itself and not to overhead or other expenses. Research your potential charities carefully before you make any decision about who should receive your money.
Step 3: Determine the amount.
Always make sure that the amount you give to charity is something that you are comfortable with. Though the charity may want more from you, you must be happy that your estate plan meets your other desires, such as providing for your family, children and loved ones.
Step 4: Write it down.
Once you have decided on the charities you want to donate to, make sure you inform your estate planning attorney so he or she can make adequate inclusions in your plan. It isn’t enough to simply express your wishes to donate to charity after you die, and you must create some concrete form that records your wishes. This is typically done by creating a last will and testament, trust, or other instrument through which you can give a donation.