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Eight Plus Ways to Make a Charitable Donation

Donors Can Choose from an Array of Methods for Giving

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Today, there are numerous ways in which to make that donation to your favorite cause, from using your checkbook to setting up a foundation to entering your credit card number online. Your donation can be made at all price points and can be packaged according to your preferences, convenience, and size of your pocketbook.

1. Use Your Checkbook

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Making a donation to a charity by writing a check is still the most common form of philanthropy in the world. It is relatively simple and certainly direct. Some of us may have trouble even finding our checkbooks any more, but we are still more likely to write a check to a charity than hand over our credit card to an online donation form, especially if we are giving a substantial amount.

2. Give Through a Donor-Advised Fund

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Making a donation through donor-advised funds is becoming more popular. Donor-advised funds are charitable giving accounts offered by a sponsoring organization that are designed as an accessible, simple, and less expensive alternative to private foundations. Put your money in, let the sponsoring institutions manage it and then make a donation to the cause of your choice.

3. Set Up a Private or Family Foundation

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Some high net-worth donors, and families, set up private family foundations to make their donation. Although some private foundations are large and well known (the Rockefeller Foundation, for example), with matching staffs, most of the approximately eighty thousand private foundations are unstaffed, and two thirds of them have less than $1 million in assets. Your own foundation is the best way to make sure your donation is totally matched to your values and interests.

4. Join a Giving Circle

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If you've ever belonged to a book or investment club, then you know the basics of a giving circle. Giving circles are relatively new to the philanthropic scene but are gaining ground rapidly. Making your donation through a giving circle is both fun and practical.

5. Find Intermediaries

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If you are concerned about making a donation to a particular issue, or even a geographic area, you may want to seek out intermediaries that are working specifically on that issue or in that locale. Making your donation through a trusted group that knows a cause inside and out can be reassuring.

6. Give Online

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Giving online is often called micro-philanthropy, the beauty of which is that donors of modest means, in the aggregate, can make a big difference. Online giving is still not the main way that donors give, but it is the fastest growing method.

Young people especially like online giving, and some charities are primarily digital presences, aggregating many small donations and sending them on to individuals or to fund international projects. Charity:water, which furnishes communities in developing countries with fresh, clean water; and Kiva, which provides micro-loans to small entrepreneurs around the world, are examples of these digital age organizations.

7. Donate Your Car, Food, or Clothing

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Donating your old car could be just the trick to get it out of your driveway and to do some good. Although there are car donation scams, you can do it in more ways than ever that really benefits a great charity. Just follow our rules of the road.

Don't forgot about donating other things too, such as furniture, appliances, food, and clothing. Food pantries and thrift shops have more needs than ever, due to the poor economy. Find these charities in your neighborhood and know that you are engaging in the most direct giving of all.

10 Ways to Give Back – Ideas For Everyday Giving

8. Give Your Time

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Volunteering doesn't cost you a dime, and it is really the "in" thing to do these days. More volunteers than ever, in all age groups and from all backgrounds, are finding their way to causes that inspire them. Whether you have one hour a week or one day a year to give, use our tips to help you find your perfect volunteer opportunity.

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