The Dos And Don’ts Of Donating To Charity

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Every year, 70% of Americans give to charity — whether it’s donating canned goods to the local food bank or dropping off gently used charitable clothing donations. The New Year is just around the corner, so it is important for U.S. men and women to take care of any last-minute donations, especially if they want to write them off on this year’s taxes. Here are a few dos and don’ts for making charitable donations.

Don’t: Throw Away Gently Used Items

U.S. households throw away 68 pounds of clothing per year — and unnecessarily, too. Gently used or like-new clothing can easily go to families in need. Before tossing old clothes, consider who might need them instead. Keep in mind that there are shortages of some items in particular. Charities always need baby clothes and clothes for toddlers and young children. Similarly, winter-appropriate clothing, like hats, gloves, winter boots, and scarves, are always a welcome contribution.

Don’t: Donate Without Doing Your Research

There are some items that charities for one reason or another (usually legal) just cannot accept. Pull up a charity websites prior to donating or call ahead to find out what is appropriate to donate and what’s not. Most charities cannot accept bowling bowls, carpets or carpeting, exercise equipment, recalled cribs (cribs with drop-down sides), damaged furniture, or cleaning products and supplies. Certain items, such as clothing, baby bags, shoes, sheets, towels, quality furniture, books, dishes, DVDs, lamps, printers, and more, are always necessary.

Food Don’ts: Don’t Donate Baked Goods And Foods In Glass Containers

Finally, if you are donating to a food bank or a charity that accepts food items, keep in mind that some foods and beverages are better than others. Most charities cannot accept perishable foods, home baked goods, or foods in glass containers, such as pasta sauce in glass jars. (There are comparable sauces in cans or plastic jars, however.) Rice, beans, macaroni and cheese, pasta, and hearty soups and stews are always great options when donating.

There are some rules of thumb for giving charitable clothing donations, household items, and food items. Help those in need and save yourself some time by donating the very best items whenever possible.

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