How to donate items instead of cash


— When making charitable donations, many people are quick to take out their checkbooks. While nonprofit organizations rely on the financial generosity of donors to meet their missions, many also accept noncash donations.

Donating items is not as simple as making a financial contribution. While writing a check takes only a few seconds, donating items requires more time and a careful consideration of the items themselves. Prospective donors who want to ensure their noncash donations do the most good can consider the following tips.

· Carefully examine items before donating them. Items that have seen far better days likely won’t have much value to charitable organizations. Once such items are donated, the charity must then make an effort to dispose of them. That can cost the charity time and money, neither of which charities have in abundance. Before donating noncash items, examine them carefully to make sure they’re items the charity can make use of or sell. New or unused items will likely pass the test, as will items with very little wear and tear. But an armchair that’s showing its age or an old washing machine that barely works likely won’t prove too valuable to the charity. But that does not mean such items have zero value.

· Sell older items, then donate the proceeds. That tattered armchair or noisy washing machine may not be worth much to a charity, but you might be able to sell such items by hosting a yard sale or posting them for sale in the newspaper or on an online classifieds board. Charities prefer higher quality items, but you might be able to sell older items to your neighbors who simply want great bargains. If you can sell such items, simply donate the proceeds to your favorite charity. This saves the charity from being saddled with worn down items while also saving them the resources and efforts needed to refurbish and sell the items themselves.

· Contact your favorite charity. If you have a favorite charity, contact them before making any donations to determine their greatest needs. Some charities may need winter coat donations, while others might be running low on nonperishable foods. Once you learn their needs, you can then donate items that fill those needs. You can even encourage friends, family and coworkers to donate. Offer to pick up and deliver any items your loved ones and colleagues can donate to the charity. This is a great way to meet a charity’s needs without making a cash donation or burdening the organization with items they cannot use.

· Get the appropriate tax documents. Much like cash, many items donated to charity are tax deductible. When donating items, be sure to get receipts so you can benefit from the tax breaks you deserve.

Charities are always in need of financial donations, but men and women also can make a difference by donating items to their favorite nonprofit organizations. GB15B650