You might make charitable donations from time to time in the usual ways; check, cash, billpay, or credit card. Did you know there’s other ways you might not have ever thought of to help your church or the charity of choice? Here’s six unique ways to donate.
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
Stuff AKA things in your closet and garage
The next time your church has a yard sale, keep this one in mind to help others and remove some clutter from your home. There are also charities out there that want your old stuff! Some organizations like Goodwill are happy to accept your old things and resell the item for a good cause. This can be anything from old clothes to camping equipment to a guitar. Think creatively. Some local charities specialize in items like furniture, so keep an eye out for organizations that will welcome your donation.
Investments: Stocks, Mutual Funds, ETFs, etc.
Did you know you can donate investments or securities to charity? Large charities will have some instructions prepared on how to do this. Smaller charities may be new to this concept and may take a bit more work. You’ll also need to contact the financial institution that holds your account to see what they require to do this. This method can be beneficial, but keep in mind there’s some nuance in terms of taxes so you may want to consult a tax professional before doing this one.
Do you have gift cards in your wallet or drawer somewhere? Do they have an inch of dust on them or a small remaining balance? Charities will gladly accept your unused gift cards. There are some places like GiftCards4Change that are specifically set up to accept your unwanted gift cards.
Reward or Hotel Points
Do you have reward points from a credit card or hotel stay? Almost all these programs have an option to donate to charity. Check with the particular program on how to do this and if they partner with certain causes. As an example, Expedia allows you to donate your travel reward points to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Frequent Flyer miles
There’s a great deal more people who have frequent flyer miles than will ever use them. The major airlines all have an easy way online to donate your miles to a good cause. The Ronald McDonald House uses these donated miles to help families travel for medical procedures. Airlines tend to have a list of organizations they are partnered with that you can choose as the recipient of your miles.
Vehicle donations and more
Over thirty years ago, the National Kidney Foundation had the idea to start accepting donated cars to help dialysis patients with their challenges. Since then, their Kidney Cars programs has helped untold numbers of patients have received help with their kidney related conditions. Other organizations have adopted this approach beyond just cars. Boats, RVs, motorcycles, and bikes are all accepted at various charities now.
"The most useful and influential people in America are those who take the deepest interest in institutions that exist for the purpose of making the world better." Booker T. Washington
A word about volunteering
It may not have a dollar value associated with it, but do not discount the value of donating your skills. You have a unique skillset that someone else does not have. Not everyone is a skilled carpenter and meant to hammer nails for Habitat for Humanity. This could be volunteering the same skills you use in a job or something completely different that has tremendous value. Be creative and do not be shy about offering your skillset for the common good to a non-profit.
As you think about which of these might work for your family, think not just about using these out of the box ideas to give, but also the best recipient for your gift. What other unique ways have you used to help through giving?
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