Many of us want to donate money and time to charities but simply don’t know how to get started. Giving back has never been easier, and charitable organizations need the support now more than ever. There are a surprising amount of things various charities need, and there can even be benefits for the donator. Here are some reasons to give more and how to make it happen. 

Why Donate?  

Being able to support a cause that’s important to you is the most meaningful reason to donate. Few things in life are as fulfilling as having a direct impact on something that you care about. Whether you’re helping support families in need or protecting an essential part of your town, there’s no feeling like having a positive impact on a cause you’re passionate about. There are also incentives for people to make charitable contributions. Despite recent tax law changes, you can still get deductions for donations – as long as they’re made to qualified tax-exempt organizations. Contributing could even help lower your taxable income – speak with a professional if you have any questions about these deductions. 

So, you’ve decided that you want to give back. Now you need to figure out the best way to do that. Speaking directly with the organization you wish to contribute to will help you understand what they need the most. Below are some of the most common ways to give to charitable organizations. 

Give Money – Perhaps the easiest way to give to your favorite charity is with money. Virtually every organization needs and accepts cash donations, and you can use this type of gift for tax purposes. Many charities offer matching programs during specific times of the year, and they’re a great way to stretch your dollar further. Check out your favorite online shopping destination for charitable giving programs as well – many places make donations of cash or goods with every purchase customers make.  

Food and Clothing – Food banks, homeless shelters, and other local charities are in constant need of food and clothing. Canned and boxed foods are popular and cheap, but regular donations of produce, dairy, and meat are precious to these organizations. Children’s apparel, winter weather gear, socks, and footwear are some of the most commonly needed items. Contacting your local charity before making purchases is recommended. Many businesses and organizations hold toy drives for children during the holidays, as well. 

Give Time – This option is a bit harder due to current restrictions and social-distancing measures, but volunteering at a local charity can be rewarding on multiple levels. You may not be able to deduct this type of giving from your taxes, but you will be making a direct impact on the causes you care about. Once restrictions have been lifted, helping serve meals at homeless shelters and assisted living facilities is a wonderful way to get started. You can also look for charities that hold camps and classes for kids – they frequently need adult volunteers. One great way to get involved now is to donate blood or plasma at your local blood bank, and often you’ll get paid to do it. Blood banks are continually looking for regular donors, so check nearby and make visiting apart of your routine.   

Vehicles – A way of giving back that has increased in popularity over the years is to donate your old vehicle. Many organizations will take your old car or truck and use it to the best of their abilities – whether it’s making deliveries, loaning them to families in need, or auctioning them off and using the proceeds to help fund the organization’s goals. These donations are often tax-deductible, and some charities will even accept boats and airplanes, so make sure to reach out with any questions.  

Giving to your favorite causes has never been easier. Consider which option is best for you, and don’t hesitate to reach out before giving.  

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