Donate to the AAVSO
“The time will come when diligent research over long periods will bring to light things which now lie hidden... Many discoveries are reserved for ages still to come, when memory of us will have been effaced.” ― Seneca, Natural Questions
Support the AAVSO's work of "enabling anyone anywhere to participate in scientific discovery through variable star astronomy":
To donate via PayPal or using your credit card, click the button below.
- Donate by check
- A Gift of Appreciated Stock
- A Bequest Through Your Will
- Create a Charitable Remainder Trust
- Establish a Charitable Lead Trust
- Design a Gift Annuity
- Consider a Deferred Gift Annuity
- Use Your Life Insurance
- Look to Retirement Accounts for Gift Opportunities
- Plan a Gift of Real Estate
- Contact Us
The AAVSO is recognized by the IRS and the state of Massachusetts as a 501c3 nonprofit scientific and educational organization. Gifts of all denominations are welcomed, and may include cash, securities, and other gifts. Unrestricted contributions may be made in any amount, and are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by the law.
- To Donate by check, please mail to AAVSO, 49 Bay State Road, Cambridge, MA 02138 United States
If you want your donation to be allocated to a specific one of our funds, please name it in the notes section of the PayPal transaction.
Appreciated Stock makes an excellent charitable gift. Under current tax laws, when an appreciated asset (such as stock) is sold, a capital gains tax is due. By making a charitable gift of the appreciated stock, you can avoid or delay the capital gains tax. You can also take an immediate income tax deduction for the current fair market value of the stock, no matter what was originally paid for it.
To take a deduction for gifts of appreciated stock at their current value, you must have owned the stock for more than 12 months. Such gifts are deductible up to 30 percent of your adjusted gross income in the year of the gift. Any unused deduction amounts may be used in as many as five subsequent tax years.
One of the most simple and popular ways to make a gift that will live after you is to give through your will. You can make a gift bequest to benefit the AAVSO by providing a dollar amount, specific property, percentage of your estate, or the remainder (what's left). Such a designation can reduce your estate taxes. In many cases, a simple change to your will can add this bequest and does not require rewriting your most recent will.
Donors and spouses can benefit from lifelong payments from such a trust. The donor selects the rate of return from these income arrangements and also chooses a fixed or fluctuating annual payment to be made to the designated parties as long as they live. Capital gains tax may be completely bypassed and you will receive a tax deduction based on the age of the income recipient and the rate of return chosen.
In a charitable lead trust, assets (generally cash or securities) are transferred to a trust that pays income from the fund to your favorite charity or charities for the number of years you select. At the end of the designated time period, the trust terminates and the assets are given back to the person you name. This trust helps to lower estate and gift taxes that would otherwise be due on the assets. This option is especially attractive if you want to leave your children or grandchildren assets in the future, but not immediately.
In exchange for a gift of cash, stock, or securities, the AAVSO will pay you, you and your survivor, or another person named by you, a guaranteed income for life. In addition, you receive a substantial income tax deduction in the year of the gift, and part of the annual payment is non-taxable. Your annuity payment and tax deduction are based on the age and income of the recipient.
A deferred gift annuity is similar to a gift annuity except that payments begin for you at a future date of your choice, such as your retirement. Your tax deduction and the annual rate of return on your annuity increase the longer you wait to start payments. This is an excellent retirement planning method to implement during prime income producing years that will benefit you later.
Use Your Life Insurance
Insurance is another simple way to make a substantial future gift at a level that would not be possible at the same level in cash. Name the AAVSO the owner and beneficiary to receive the proceeds of an existing life insurance policy. You will receive a tax deduction for approximately the cash surrender value, thereby reducing your tax liability in the year of the gift.
An alternative is to purchase a new life insurance policy naming this organization as owner and beneficiary. With this option, you receive an income tax deduction for each premium made and make possible a major gift to your favorite charity with a modest annual payment (or one-time premium payment).
Look to Retirement Accounts for Gift Opportunities
Account funds (IRAs or company plans) beyond the comfortable support of yourself or loved one may be given (like life insurance proceeds) to the AAVSO by proper beneficiary designation. Large pension plan assets can be subject to double or triple taxation (federal estate, federal income, and state death and state income tax) that virtually eliminates the benefits to heirs if tax-wise alternative planning is not arranged.
Plan a Gift of Real Estate
For some people, a gift of land, primary residence, or vacation home is a preferred way to make a gift. You will receive a tax deduction for the full fair market value, avoid all capital gains tax, and remove this asset from future estate taxes. One option is to give real estate while you retain a life tenancy. This provides a substantial income tax deduction by giving (deeding) your home or farm to your favorite charity now. You continue to live there, maintain the property as usual, and even receive any income it generates. At your death the property will be sold and the proceeds will support the mission of the AAVSO.
Thanks to your membership:
- The AAVSO is a leading citizen astronomy movement, enabling its international community to participate in scientific projects.
- The AAVSO builds a vibrant, engaged and diverse community of individuals worldwide, through our observing sections, virtual or in-person events, opportunities for involvement in projects, respectful discussions of scientific projects and educational and training programs.
- The AAVSO creates opportunities for new and emerging leaders to play instrumental roles in our community, working groups, conferences, and the Association as a whole.
- The AAVSO secures and maintains databases and online tools necessary to facilitate our observer's work, ensures high quality of data in our databases and provides avenues for newcomers to participate in variable star research.
Your membership in the AAVSO has several benefits, including:
- Waiver of page charges for publication in the Journal of the AAVSO (currently $100/page for non-members),
- Use of the AAVSO's Robotic Telescope Network, AAVSOnet,
- Substantial discount on CHOICE short courses and CCD School Streaming Video downloads.
- Access to exclusive members-only CHOICE courses,
- Eligibility for the Mentor Program,
- Use of the AAVSO's online photometric analysis tool, VPHOT and the VPHOT Users Guide,
- Access to the AAVSOnet and APASS Epoch Photometry data (over a billion records) through an easy-to-use VStar plugin
- Reduced registration rates for AAVSO meetings and workshops
- Eligibility to vote in elections and serve as an AAVSO Officer or Board member.
New members of the AAVSO also receive our New Member Kit, which includes:
- New Member acceptance and membership certificate
- A copy of the By-Laws of the AAVSO, the most recent Journal of the AAVSO, and AAVSO Annual Report
- The 10 Star Tutorial (for Northern Hemisphere residents) and The 11 Star Tutorial (for Southern Hemisphere residents) for those new to visual variable star observing
- A copy of our Manual for Visual Observing of Variable Stars, and Getting started manuals for CCD and PEP observing
- A user guide to the AAVSO's Variable Star Plotter (VSP)--our online chart-making utility
- A number of reference documents covering topics such as Julian Day, object naming, easy-to-observe stars, and links to resources, such as our Mentor Program.
Our members have made the AAVSO what it is today and we hope that you will be one of them!
Who Are AAVSO Members?
If you are:
- A variable star observer -- amateur or professional -- who wants to support the AAVSO above and beyond your contribution of data,
- A professional astronomer who uses AAVSO data and services, and wants to support the AAVSO and our mission to encourage variable star research,
- An educator who wants to share variable star astronomy with your students,
- A student just beginning your career in the sciences, or
- Anyone interested in the science and history of variable star astronomy, or in the collaboration of amateur and citizen scientists in astronomical research
then you are the sort of person who belongs in the American Association of Variable Star Observers! From its earliest days, the AAVSO has been made up of both amateur and professional astronomers, including some of the most important and influential astronomers of the 20th and 21st Centuries. Today, the AAVSO membership numbers over 1000 amateur and professional astronomers all over the world devoted to variable star research -- and you should be one of them! We need you to support the work that the AAVSO does in variable star astronomy, and to contribute your knowledge, skills, and expertise to further our mission. Please consider joining today!
To read personal accounts about how some AAVSO Members became interested in astronomy, or why they joined AAVSO, please click here.