Non cash donations

Donors might want to do a little legwork before making noncash donations to ensure their generosity does as much good as possible.

Donations come in many forms. Charitable organizations can always benefit from financial donations. But cold hard cash isn't the only way to help a favorite charity.

Noncash donations can include everything from clothing to electronics to art and collectibles and much more. In fact, such donations are very common. According to the Internal Revenue Service, more than 15 million clothing donations were reported on tax returns in 2016.

Many people have items they want to donate to a good cause. But donors might want to do a little legwork before making noncash donations to ensure their generosity does as much good as possible.

Determine the usefulness of noncash items. The organization Charity Navigator, which is one of the world's largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities, notes that most charities can only make use of new, unused or nearly new items. If necessary, work with the charity you hope to donate to so you only drop off items the charity can ultimately utilize.

Don't give up on items deemed not useful. Just because a charity cannot accept a certain item does not mean the charity cannot ultimately benefit from that item. Items that have too much wear and tear for charities can still be sold, and donors can turn the proceeds from those sales into financial donations to their favorite charities. Items can be sold at garage sales, at flea markets, online through websites like Ebay, or even via the local newspaper classifieds section.

Donate locally. Charity Navigator notes that some organizations offer to pick up large noncash donations, such as furniture. By choosing to donate such items to local charities, donors can save the organizations the potentially costly expense of extensive travel. That means donations go that much further.

Accept your tax deduction. There's no shame in accepting some goodwill in return for your charitable efforts. When donating noncash items, ask for a receipt and any additional forms necessary to claim a tax deduction.

Noncash donations can be as valuable to charitable organizations as cash donations, especially when donors take the time to ensure they donate only those items organizations can use.

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