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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Tip List - Maximizing your charitable contributions

As with the rest of our finances, I try to be frugal with charitable donations. Here are a few ways to maximize your giving:

1. When coordinating a fundraiser, ask local businesses if they are willing to donate toward your cause. For example, I coordinate a pancake breakfast at work each year, with the profits all going to charity. Our local grocery donates a gift card each year to help maximize our profits. We sometimes get items to raffle as well, so don’t be afraid to ask for what you want – the worst you can hear is no.
2. When buying food to donate, stock up when pricing is best. I take advantage of all the great pre-Thanksgiving sales on canned foods and boxed meals to donate to our local food pantry.
3. Consider requesting information on what is most needed from your preferred charity, so you aren’t buying something that will go unused. Each year we receive a list of the most needed items for the food pantry. It helps us know our donations will help fill key needs.
3. Buy items at the end of a season when they are on clearance – if you have space, stock up throughout the year. My favorite find was a huge sack of stuffed animals I picked up at a local store after Valentine’s Day. (I think I may have mentioned this before) Each adorable animal was less than $2. I do the same with hats, mittens and coats if I find a great end of season deal.
4. If you travel, stock up on toiletries from your hotel room. These items are always needed in shelters. A friend I work with whose mother volunteered for years at a shelter tipped me off about this.
5. Keep an eye out for things you can donate when cleaning out your closets. I try and (within reason) distribute the items I want to donate into stacks based on the needs of specific charities. The rest goes to the Goodwill donation station near my house, because it is so convenient.
6. When you don’t feel able to donate money, consider donating your time. Often our time and assistance is the most valuable thing we can give to others!
7. Consider the efficiency of fund usage when donating money. I try to find charities that have the lowest administrative costs, so the money is most effective.

What do you do to maximize your charitable donations? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

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Octamom said...

Great ideas. I usually have TONS of contributions to Goodwill--it's always worth keeping good record for out Goodwill stuff because it ends up adding up!

Jill Marie said...

I can't remember exactly how I got here. I clicked a link in Indigo's blog, then I think I went to Menagerie and well I may have clicked another in there somewhere. LOL

Just wanted to say hello and I really enjoyed reading your blog. I hope you all had a great weekend.

Poof said...

Excellent tips, thanks.

franticallyheidi said...

Great tips - and so timely. Thanks for sharing.

pennie mills said...

Hi! Thank you for the tips and ideas. I stock up on the canned goods when they are on sale, especially this time of year with all of the food drives. I split my donations between Goodwill and Molly Mutt thrift store, where the money from donations purchased goes to our local animal shelters.

A Frugal Housewife - Jody said...

During my fall and spring cleaning most of what I'm getting rid of goes to our local womens shelter.

Great ideas.

Amydeanne said...

tips and ideas! i wait til walmart has their off season stuff for sale for so cheap than i stock up to giveaway!

Lori @ Front Porch Legacy said...

Great ideas! And don't forget your charitable receipt for tax purposes. I learned that the hard way and my sweet man loves his deductions!