With the holiday season almost upon us, most of us have already decided on the organizations we’re going to donate to this year. While many people choose to make cash donations (always appreciated by nonprofits!) there are a number of impactful ways for you to donate to and make an impact in your favorite nonprofit.
In this guide, we’ll look at nonprofits’ favorite types of alternative donations. You’ll learn how you can donate:
- Your Time
- Household Items
- An Endowment
Whether you’re donating on #GivingTuesday or during a year-end giving campaign, contributing in ways other than cash can help your chosen charity surpass its goals and achieve its mission. Let’s take a look at some of the innovative ways for you to donate this holiday season!
1. Donate Your Time
You don’t need to donate money to have a significant impact on your favorite nonprofit. Rather, you can donate your time and labor as a volunteer. Often nonprofits rely on volunteers to run effective programming, successful fundraising campaigns, and engaging events.
Different nonprofit organizations have different volunteer needs. In general, however, these break down into either one-time or ongoing commitments:
- One-time volunteer opportunities. These opportunities usually focus on completing a specific task, such as stuffing envelopes or assisting at an event. For example, you might join your employee volunteering programto donate your time alongside coworkers on a predetermined volunteer day.
- Ongoing volunteer opportunities. These opportunities, such as being a school mentor or a program’s fundraising ambassador, usually require a regularly scheduled commitment.
For many nonprofits, the holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year. Your volunteer support can alleviate stress and pressure on full-time staff and fill in gaps in services and operations. Plus, it will provide you with a chance to build deeper connections in your local community.
2. Donate Stocks
Stock donations can be an incredibly impactful form of charitable giving and carry immense value for donors and nonprofits alike. According to Infinite Giving’s guide to stock donations, the donor benefits to making stock donations fall into three main categories:
- Stock donations are tax-efficient for donors. With stock donations, you can avoid paying capital gains tax on donated shares and deduct 100% of the value of their contribution.
- Stock donations increase the giving potential among donors. Because of the tax efficiency of stock donations, you can afford to give more.
- Stock donations are quick and easy for donors. Modern investing solutions allow you to make stock donations online without the rigamarole of big bank bureaucracy.
When you donate stocks to a nonprofit, they can choose to hold, liquidate, or reinvest the assets, growing the long-term value of your donation.
3. Donate Household Items
If you’re like most people, you likely have dozens of household items that you don’t use and won’t miss. Instead of letting them collect dust, consider donating these items to your favorite nonprofit.
From office supplies to clothing to cooking utensils, nonprofit organizations often depend on these in-kind gifts to meet their day-to-day operations and program needs. Additionally, when you make this type of donation, you can deduct the value of the donated items on your taxes—and clean out your house in the process!
However, always check with the nonprofit before dropping off your unused household items to ensure they can use your donation. A dog shelter, for example, likely wouldn’t be the best fit for a donation of human clothing. Often, calls for in-kind donations are posted on a nonprofit’s website and social media pages.
4. Donate Cryptocurrency
These days, cryptocurrency isn’t just popular in tech circles. Nonprofits are now also accepting these digital assets, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin, as an alternative to typical cash donations.
Like stock donations, cryptocurrency donations to registered 501(c)(3)s are completely tax-deductible, can be used to avoid or offset capital gains tax, and significantly impact a nonprofit’s funding.
If you have a cryptocurrency portfolio, consider making your nonprofit donation in crypto this season.
5. Donate an Endowment
Finally, an endowment is a unique type of cash donation with an inter-generational charitable impact. Endowments are structured to grow your initial donation through thoughtful investing while disbursing a predetermined amount of funds to the nonprofit each year. In this way, a well-managed endowment can support a nonprofit in perpetuity, and your donation can have a legacy long beyond your lifetime.
Endowments can take several different forms, including true endowments, term endowments, quasi-endowments, and micro-endowments. When deciding if an endowment is the right donation for you to make, consider the primary characteristics of the endowment you want to create. Ask yourself:
- How long do you want the endowment to last?
- How do you want the endowment to be spent?
- How do you want the endowment to be invested?
- How much do you want to put into the endowment?
By answering these questions, you can narrow down the type of endowment you want to create and the restrictions to include. For example, depending on your financial situation, you may want to start by funding a micro-endowment that you and your family could add to over time.
However you choose to donate this season, take time to ensure your gift has the greatest impact possible. For example, if you volunteer or make a cash donation, check if your company will make a matching gift. According to Double the Donation’s matching gift statistics, over 26 million individuals work for companies with matching gift programs—so it’s more than likely you do too. We can’t wait to see the impact your donation will make!