End of Year Charitable Giving Tips This Giving Tuesday

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On Thanksgiving, we give thanks. And then, all weekend through Cyber Monday, we shop ‘til we drop. Then comes Giving Tuesday, a day for giving back, a day to celebrate generosity. Here are some suggestions for celebrating this day of giving.

 Share your time and skills

Most charities need volunteers. On Giving Tuesday, explore what you can do to make a difference. How many hours a week do you have to give? Would you prefer to work alone or in a group? Do you want to work at your computer, talk to people on the telephone, or do you want to see people face-to-face? Then contact charities that interest you and find out the opportunities available.

If you can’t devote time outside the home, no problem. Find a charity that needs tasks you can do from home. I know several women who use special hand looms to create caps for premature infants that are distributed to hospitals around the state.

Donate stuff

Giving Tuesday is a great day to clean out closets and the garage, box up unneeded but still useful clothes, sporting goods, DVDs and other household items, and drop them off at a collection box or arrange with a charity to come pick them up. You will welcome the New Year with new space in your life, and get a quick tax deduction to boot if you keep track of these donations.

Here are some other ideas for stuff you can donate:

That special holiday dress. If you bought a dress to wear at a special holiday event last year, and haven’t worn it much since, donate it to a non-profit organization such as Goodwill or a homeless shelter, or sell your special dress on eBay, Craigslist or through a consignment shop, and donate the proceeds to charity.

Toys.  Many local charities have toy drives this time of year that benefit children in need. Keep your ears open and drop off the items at the designated spot, or seek out the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program, or ask for information at your local toy retailer.

Unwanted foodstuffs. If you have boxed or canned food that is languishing in your pantry, toss the cans, bottles and boxes into a paper bag and take the bag to the drop off point at your local grocery store. You’ll be helping a family in need and cleaning out your pantry at the same time.

Take a tax deduction if you can.

If you itemize deductions, you can deduct donations of property if it is in usable condition. To track and establish its fair market value, you can use TurboTax Its Deductible. You’ll also need a signed receipt that proves you made the donation.

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