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Charitable contributions are a great way to make a positive impact on the world around you, support a cause that matters to you, and also potentially earn tax deductions for yourself. What many people don't realize, however, is that there's more than one way to give. Non-cash donations can often be just as valuable to recipient organizations as cash, and may even come with additional benefits for donors.

What Are Non-Cash Donations?

There are a variety of different types of charitable contributions. These include:

  • Depending on the organization, anything from household goods to clothing to cars may be useful and appreciated. Be sure to check with the organization you have in mind to see what types of goods they prefer to receive.
  • Real Estate.
  • Donor-Advised Funds.
  • Financial Securities (such as stocks, bonds, or options).
  • Planned Giving Options (such as charitable life insurance).
  • Volunteering (specifically, expenses incurred while volunteering are tax-deductible).

The Benefits of Charitable Contributions

Keep in mind that in order for a donation to be tax-deductible, it must be made to a qualifying tax-exempt organization (such as a 501(c)(3)). Depending on the type and amount of the donation, you might also need to submit additional tax forms.

With some types of donations, making a non-cash donation might actually end up maximizing your deduction. Donating appreciated non-cash assets that have been held for more than a year, for example, allow you to avoid the capital gains tax that you would normally pay on those assets. This both maximizes your charitable contribution while also reducing your tax burden.

Particularly for large or non-cash donations, be sure to talk with a financial advisor and the intended recipient organization ahead of time.

Spectrum Community Services is committed to improving the quality of life for low-income families, seniors, and individuals in Alameda County. Through financial assistance and other services, our goal is to support community members in building healthy, safe, and independent lives. Contact us to learn more about our services, or consider making a donation to support our work. We can't wait to work with you!