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What are Some Ideas for Charitable Giving?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Jan 24, 2024
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Charitable giving tends to most often refer to giving cash donations to various charities or non-profit agencies that serve society. Certainly, cash donations are an easy way to practice charitable giving, and they are a method for organizations to raise funds to run their businesses or to directly profit the object of their charity. Yet not all people can afford to give large donations or donations of any size, and they may wish to consider the other ways in which they can support charities.

Donations to charities do not have to be cash. Many organizations look for other donations by which they can raise money. A number of charities have begun to accept donations of old cars or boats, and they resell these to benefit their business. Frequently donations of cars or other vehicles are tax deductible for the donor, and an excellent way to practice charitable giving.

Some charities run thrift stores for the public, which help them raise money. Donating clothing, household items, and furniture to these stores is another method of charitable giving. However, people should be wary of what they donate. Excessively stained clothes or broken beyond repair objects really aren’t suitable for donation, and some charities than run thrift stores end up spending some of their money to dispose of these items because they can’t sell them. For charitable giving of this kind to work best, donors should look for items to donate that are in good shape and likely to be sellable to others.

Another form of charitable giving includes donation of items too, particularly coats and blankets. Homeless shelters and charities benefiting the homeless may ask for these items to help people survive the cold when they must live outdoors. Instead of selling these items, they go directly to the people who will benefit from them.

In tight economic times, people may not have items to donate or money to spare for charitable giving. Many do still have some time on their hands, in which they could help a charity do some of its necessary work. Volunteering to work for a charity, either on a one-time basis or regularly is a fantastic way to support it. Though charities still depend on some cash and item donation, they also need helpers to keep their operation running.

Another charitable giving option is to donate money or items posthumously (after death). Many people structure their wills to at least partially benefit a specific charity, or they set up charitable trusts. Amount donated in a will does not have to be large, and some may view this as their final gift to mankind as they depart this earth.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By croydon — On Feb 09, 2015

@clintflint - I like giving out items rather than money because at least it's more likely they will be used for the intended purpose. It seems like there are a lot of fake charities out there these days, particularly involved in online charitable giving, and it's very difficult to tell which ones are genuine, which ones are fake, and which ones are simply ridiculously inefficient.

I don't particularly want to waste my money when it could be used to help people.

By clintflint — On Feb 08, 2015

@pastanaga - Well, some people do take it too far, but it's important to remember that some people's trash is another person's treasure. There are a lot of people out there who will only wear a set of clothes once or twice and then throw it away.

There are also a lot of times where a charity will literally ask for trash so they can recycle it.

I know the local animal shelters here often ask for shredded paper because they use it as bedding for the puppies. And there are some charities who run art projects who often need unusual materials like foil milk tops and things like that.

I think the rule should be that people need to make sure the charity is asking for something before they give it. And, if you aren't sure, then money will always be appreciated.

By pastanaga — On Feb 07, 2015

Remember that you're only helping if you give usable goods to charities to resell. I know of all too many people who seem to think they are doing thrift stores a favor by giving them truckloads of worn out clothing that isn't good for anything except to be recycled for material.

In that case, all you are doing is creating more work for the charity. Charitable giving means that you are actually giving up something, not just using them as a garbage dump.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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