How to Donate to Nonprofit Organizations

Woman with volunteers friends in charity food bank

You don't have to be wealthy to donate to a nonprofit that you believe in and would like to support. Cash donations are often the best way to help since the organization may have the ability to find the supplies it needs faster and for less money than you can. Nevertheless, many nonprofits are happy to accept other donations, including volunteer work.

Seven Ways to Donate to a Nonprofit

Donate your time, money, and items to help others.

1. Make a Cash Contribution

Charities are more than happy to take cash contributions from donors. If you're looking for a no-fuss way to reduce your tax liability while also supporting your favorite charity, consider simply writing a check to the nonprofit organization of your choice. You can designate how the funds you share are to be used, or you can make a no strings attached gift that enables the group's executive director or Board of Directors make a decision about how the money should be spent to serve the best interests of the organization.

Charity donation collector

2. Attend a Fundraiser

If you want to have fun while also supporting your favorite charity, consider buying a ticket to attend an enjoyable fundraiser event. Many nonprofits hold silent auctions, wine and food tastings, dinner dances, and other events throughout the year in order to raise money. It makes sense to put your entertainment dollars to work to provide support for the work of important community-based charities, especially when you can have a good time in the process!

3. Clean Out Your Closets and Share

There's a good chance that you have plenty of items in your closet that you'll never wear again. Whether it's clothes that you've outgrown or items that you just don't wear anymore, the very items that are causing clutter in your closet could be put to good use by a nonprofit organization. Some donations are offered for sale in thrift stores operated by nonprofits while others are given to needy individuals and families in the community for their own personal use. Contact your local Goodwill, Salvation Army, or other charitable organizations in your area that accept clothing items to inquire about the best way to make your donation. It's likely that you'll be asked to take the items that you would like to share to a donation drop-off site.

Donation box full of clothes and toys

4. Donating Household Goods

One of the ways you can donate on a regular basis is by giving household goods and supplies you no longer need. If you replace your home's furniture, and your existing furniture is still in good condition, donate it. Appliances, cookware and home decor items are also acceptable donations. Many of these organizations pass these donated goods on to those in need. In other cases, the charity will sell the goods to the public and use the funds received as a way to fund the charity. The same organizations that accept clothing are likely to accept household goods, including Goodwill and the Salvation Army.

5. Donate Your Time and Talent

Another way to give donations to nonprofit organizations is to donate your time and your talent. You may be able to donate your legal expertise to the organization or offer time helping to run charity events. You can donate your accounting services or your crafting abilities. Smaller organizations often need these services the most. Larger organizations have full management to provide these services, but locally run charities may not. Contact local organizations to find out how you can help.

6. Donate a Vehicle That You No Longer Need

Do you have an old car, boat, or recreational vehicle that you no longer use?. You can convert automobiles and other types of vehicles into tax deductions simply by giving them to qualified charitable entities. In addition to enjoying the tax benefits, you'll get these large items out of your own way and reduce ownership expenses such as vehicle registration and insurance coverage fees.

While not all nonprofits accept vehicle donations, there's a good chance that one or more organizations in your area would love to take what you want to give away off your hands. A few places you may want to check with if you'd like to make this type of contribution are 1-800 Charity Cars and Car Angel.

7. Pledge Support to a Walk or Run Participant

Charitable groups often hold walk or run events as a way to raise money and increase awareness of their work in the community. They recruit people to participate in the event, and participants are responsible for enlisting financial support from donors. If you're looking for a way to keep your tax liability in check, consider agreeing to sponsor someone who is participating in this type of fundraiser for an organization that does work that you'd like to support.

While many types of nonprofits hold these types of events, they seem to be particularly popular among healthcare charities. The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training events are among the most well-known and widely-publicized walk and run fundraisers, but there are many similar events held in communities across the company to support numerous nonprofit groups.

Charity run

Taxes and Donations

Nonprofit organizations regularly receive tax breaks from the federal government because these organizations are operating on a not for profit basis. Individuals who donate to those organizations may also receive tax deductions on their federal income taxes for the donation of goods and cash. If you are a professional who donates his or her time to an organization, this may be a write off for your business, too.

To find out more about the qualifications of your charitable donations towards tax benefits, contact your tax professional. Donations of goods and cash will require a receipt from the charity documenting your gift. Whenever you donate at least $250, or goods valued at this much in any year, be sure you have the proper documentation to support it. If you donate a car, it's important to note that the way you can deduct your gift depends on how the vehicle will be used. See IRS Car Donation Rules to learn more.

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