10 Ways to Give Back: Time, Talent and Treasure

As the new year begins and we look to the future, many of us start thinking of ways we can give back to our communities. We’ve rounded up 10 ideas for you which include everything from financial giving to contributing your time or talents to support the charities and nonprofits you love! Check out the list to discover new ways to give back.

1. Give Money
Making a donation of money can be a very simple way of giving back. Charities and nonprofit organizations need capital not only to support their cause but also for operating costs. Make sure to save your donation receipts for your accountant.

2. Gift Appreciated Stock
Your favorite organization can benefit from a gift of appreciated stock by selling the stock at market value and realizing the full amount without paying taxes. Here’s a simple example: If you bought 10 shares of a stock at $25 a share and it is now worth $100 a share, the organization would receive the full value of $1,000 and you may be eligible to receive a $1,000 tax deduction. Donating the stock will prevent you from having to sell those shares and pay taxes on the gain and allow the charity to realize the full value of the appreciated stock. Donating appreciated stocks can be a wonderful way to give to organizations.

3. Serve on a Board
If you are retired or have extra time on your hands, consider serving on the board of a charity or nonprofit. The skills you have gained over the years could prove to be invaluable to their organization.

4. Attend Charitable Events
Charities and nonprofits host events to show donors the benefit they bring to their community. By attending these events hosted by organizations you support, and inviting a friend or two to come along, you help expand the reach of the organization.

5. Donate a Vehicle
Many nonprofits accept vehicles for donation. If you are selling or thinking of trading in a vehicle, consider donating it instead. Charities often auction off cars or give them to people in the communities they serve who could benefit from reliable transportation. Like many donations, you may be eligible to receive tax benefits on the donated value.

6. Mentor Students
Giving back doesn’t always have to involve money. Many organizations are looking for adult mentors to tutor students or simply be a positive presence in their lives. Look for organizations in your area such as the Boys and Girls Club, Kids Tech or Whiz Kids as starting places to explore mentorship opportunities.

7. Turn a Hobby Into Giving
Do you love to garden, knit, fix cars, read, etc.? You would be surprised how many charities and nonprofits need specialized help. You could help maintain the gardens on their grounds, knit blankets for children in the hospital, teach teenagers how to work on cars or read to preschoolers… the list is endless. Talk to charities in your area about your hobbies to see where there is a fit for you.

8. Donate Your Professional Expertise
Similar to sharing your hobby, you could donate your professional experience to organizations you support. Think about your skills such as bookkeeping, accounting, computer work, answering phones, maintaining websites or creating flyers. You might be retired, but the skills you honed in the workplace can still be put to valuable use.

9. Shop for Charities or Schools
Many grocery stores and large retailers give back to charities and schools when you shop with them or when using their credit or debit card. An online retailer who gives back when you shop is Amazon. Check out smile.amazon.com, and Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchase to the charity of your choice. Be sure to ask around at the stores you frequent to see how your purchases can benefit schools or charities you care about.

10. Share Your Pet
Your pet makes you smile, why not share the love? Many nursing homes, hospitals and senior centers love to have animals come visit their residents and patients to brighten their day. Call facilities near you to find out about their pet visitation policies. Sometimes you and your four legged friend will need to go through a class before you can visit, but the smiles on the faces of the patients or residents will be more than worth the effort.

How do you give back? What are some of your favorite charities? Share with us in the comments below!

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