For many the holidays are a time of giving, not just to family and friends, but also to those in need. But how do you make your donation count? How will an organization benefit most from your gift? And, how will your kind gesture have the greatest impact on recipients?
One of the best ways to give to nonprofits during the holidays is to make a cash donation. When you write a check to a charity, you may not get the warm fuzzy feeling inside that you might with spending volunteer hours at your local shelter or food bank, but don’t underestimate the value of your donation. Many charities rely on year-end gifts and other financial help to operate.
It is this time of year that, for obvious reasons, there is a surge in giving. And, while many nonprofits depend on your generosity during the holidays, charities hope people will plan to make donations throughout the year. This is why many food banks or shelters organize food drives once the giving season has slowed down. So make a note in your calendar to repeat your generosity at the end of the next quarter.
If you are donating unwanted gifts after the holidays, make sure you check with the charity that these are items they can use or pass on. It is more costly, in terms of workforce hours, to sift through unwanted donations than the time it takes you to ensure the items will be of use.
Once your home is cleared of extended family members, and the kids have returned to school, sort through your wardrobe and put aside items for donation that you no longer wear. Also, consider making donations of children’s clothing – especially teenage clothing. Those youngsters from low-income families or living in shelters sometimes find it difficult to find clothing they are comfortable wearing for fear of being bullied at school. If you are feeling generous enough to do so, making purchases during post-holiday sales, when you get a significant discount, would perhaps go a long way to ensuring the items donated are ‘on trend.’
If you want to get your children involved in giving you could take them to a charity shop to do their Christmas shopping. A great example is the Mini O’Beirne Crisis Nursery Children’s Holiday Store in Springfield.
We are participating in a winter clothing drive in our Modesto and Palmyra branches and have an angel tree in our New Berlin branch, similar to many businesses at this time of year.
And remember, if you make the gift of cash or property to a charity be sure to keep your receipts or bank records to validate any income tax reductions you wish to claim.