There is a reason people donate to charity: Helping others simply feels good. It feels good to offer others the chance to make use of items no longer needed or to share some of your abundance with others.
Since charities often depend in part or whole upon the generosity of donors to keep their doors open, you never have to wonder if your donation can help make someone else’s burdens less difficult to bear. However, not all items donated to charity have equal usefulness. There are some items that a charity might need only occasionally, while other items are continually in demand. In particular, there are five items always popular with various types of charities. When you give these items, you can make a big impact with your donation.
According to the World Food Programme, nearly 900 million people go hungry each year. In a culture that celebrates a “thin ideal” of beauty, sometimes this is hard to believe. Nevertheless, charities that work to end hunger have tackled one of the biggest, most resistant problems in the world today —ongoing hunger and malnourishment among children and families worldwide. This is why donations of non-perishable food items, such as canned goods, are always needed.
There is no doubt clothing and linens are always needed. However, the state of the clothing or linens will determine the best organization for you to donate those items to. New or gently used items may go to a charity that redistributes these items to households. Items more thoroughly worn may be donated to a charity that works with animals or that creates recycled or repurposed goods. Whatever you have to give and in whatever condition it is in, you can always find a second home for it with the right charity.
Donating vehicles is perhaps a less-known area of charitable giving. However, donating a boat, yacht, car, truck, motorhome or other vehicle can be one of the most valuable donations you can make. Some charities will make use of your vehicle donations directly, while others may resell the donated vehicle and use the proceeds to carry out their work. In either case, the donation of a vehicle may have minimal impact on your life — and can result in a helpful tax credit — but will absolutely have major impact on the lives of those the charity serves.
Today’s culture increasingly survives and thrives based on an ability to connect to the Internet. As such, one of the most pressing needs for many charities is technology. Technology includes computers, tablets, peripherals such as printers and scanners, software, cell phones, accessories such as mice and keyboards and more. Some charities will use these items directly — the newer the technology is, the more likely the charity will be able to put it to work right away. Some charities, however, will take obsolete or non-working technology, offering a tax credit in exchange for the chance to recycle the technology.
Finally, housewares are always welcome donations to charities that work in the area of individual and family services. In the wake of a series of worldwide natural disasters, housewares are in great demand right now. One great way to offer a housewares donation is to see where you may have two items — such as two blenders — but you only use one. You can donate the second blender to make someone else’s life easier.
Through donations of canned goods, clothing and linens, vehicles, technology and housewares, you can start immediately easing the burdens others bear and create a kinder, more generous world for everyone to live in.
About the Author: Kerry Sharp has a 20-year career in nonprofit development under her belt. During her tenure, she has sorted through all kinds of donation items in search of the ones the charities she managed truly needed.