Would you give a man who is hungry a glass of water? Would you give a turtle dog food? Would you give a baby ramen noodles? Of course not! Money is the best way to donate to a charity, because the people running the charity know what the recipients need!
Donating money is quick, easy, and always needed. Today you can send a donation with a credit card without even leaving your home. You can donate your proceeds from on line auctions and affiliate programs directly to the charity. Coin star machines will accept donations, so you can dump your pennies at the grocery store and help someone out at the same time!
Charities can use your cash donation more effectively than you can. Many charities get discounts from corporations on vital items. UNICEF can purchase mosquito nets and water purification tablets for much less than I could, so it means more for the charity if I send a check. Animal shelters can buy food in bulk. Sending a big box of stuff would require more postage than the items would be worth in some cases.
The only time I would think donating items would be a better choice for the giver is when they are cleaning out their pantries and closets. Donating stuff to Goodwill or a food bank is closer to recycling, than giving. Where is the sacrifice in giving away something you would normally throw away? Let’s be honest here, giving away creamed spinach is not really a work of charity. Whens the last time you gave a food bank cookies? When was the last time you gave a food bank a check so they could purchase what they need? Would you put a can of creamed corn in the church collection plate? I don’t think so.
Charity organizations have expenses beyond the charity. I know you hate to think that part of your donation is paying for office space, or business expenses, but organizations need these to stay afloat. If you send a check and that is used to send out letters to raise even more money for the charity, it was a good use of your donation. Money can help charities fund raise.
My advice when you are deciding what to send to a charity: Send your creamed spinach or old sweater, but don’t forget to send a check with it!