Where To Donate Money: Worthwhile Charity Ideas

If you're looking for a tax shelter in which to invest leftover money at the end of the month, consider these options.

Monetary donations play an important role in the global economy. Without individual or corporate contributions, many social service organizations could not exist or do the jobs they currently perform to help others.

A high percentage of income-earners donate a portion of their salary to worthwhile causes. These might be health organizations that sponsor research to find cures and treatments like the American Cancer Association, or public service entities like the local library system.

Whatever your personal interest may be in aiding society by donating money, here are some of the well-known options that will gratefully accept contributions of money or volunteer service:

1. Health associations. Diseases like AIDS, cancer, diabetes, stroke, and circulatory disorders can be more effectively managed with the help of national or international groups. These associations help to provide information about the causes, effects, symptoms, and treatments of serious diseases, making people more aware of the need to be checked by doctors. They also sponsor fund-raisers to collect money for ongoing research that will help us learn more about these conditions and control or reduce their effects, much like tuberculosis or polio today, serious killers in the past.

2. Social service organizations. Poverty, hunger, unemployment, and illiteracy are some of the problems that various agencies deal with in efforts to improve people's lives. Food banks, free meals, resume-writing workshops, and reading programs are valuable investment options for your donation dollar. Boys and girls' clubs, homeless shelters, and family advocacy groups are other ways in which your contribution can help others who are struggling with serious and sometimes damaging issues.

3. Education programs. With tax cuts affecting government spending on education--particularly higher education, which includes colleges and universities--your donation can help provide scholarships for less fortunate students, enhance classrooms for a brighter and more effective learning environment, and support school lunch programs or after-school care. Teaching aids, learning resources, and facility support all can benefit from any dollar amount you care to donate.

4. Community services. If you want to upgrade your neighborhood value or increase the level of programs or sites available to the general public, you can donate money to the metropolitan or state park system, local library, civic programs or festivals, children's services, or historic sites. Contribute to a flower garden at the retirement center or the classic music collection at a neighborhood preschool.

5. Churches or worship centers. Many religious organizations depend on members' contributions in order to survive and provide community assistance in the form of free meals, youth activities, or family counseling. While guests are not expected to donate, members typically give a percentage of their income; for Christians, that is often ten percent, or a tithe, as prescribed in the Bible. Any amount is welcome, however.

Whatever your interest or concern, there's a charity waiting to receive your financial donation with heartfelt thanks. Just be sure to check out the organization's record and reputation before writing a check. You will be richly blessed in knowing you helped others while reaping a tax deduction at the same time.

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