Wise Giving Wednesday: Donating Clothing, Food, Toys, and Cars

By H. Art Taylor
President & CEO BBB Wise Giving Alliance
Dec 14, 2022

As donors make their year-end giving choices, households that are short on cash might consider giving alternatives such as donating goods. The recently released 2022 Give.org Donor Trust Report includes a five-year review of trust and giving attitudes by an online survey of over 2,000 adults in the U.S. and more than 1,000 in Canada. When respondents were asked to identify the top three most impactful ways to make a difference, 49% chose donating items like food and clothing. That result has consistently remained the highest result in five years (2017-2021) worth of survey data.

Clothing. Many charities welcome donated used clothing, in good condition, at any time during the year.  Be careful when donating through a metal collection bin. While some bins are maintained by responsible, well-managed charities, others may not be. Keep in mind that in most cases, used clothes are eventually sold in thrift stores. In only rare exceptions are clothes directly distributed to the needy. You can visit the charity’s website to find out more about how they use such contributions. Two well known charities that welcome used clothing donations are Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries. Here are links to our reports on the national offices of these organizations: Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries International. Both of them are BBB Accredited Charities

Nonperishable Food. The donation of nonperishable food, such as canned or boxed foods is another option. To help locate one of the many food banks across the nation, visit the website of Feeding America (a BBB Accredited Charity.)

Toys. There are a number of charities that welcome donated toys to help provide holiday gifts for needy children. Usually, they seek new, unused toys. Probably one of the most well-known charities in this area is the Marine Toys For Tots Foundation (a BBB Accredited Charity.)

Used Cars. Donating a vehicle is a popular end of year giving option. As a growing number of charities accept donated cars, don’t assume the latest car donation promotion is your only option. In most cases, donated cars are sold at auction with the charity receiving just a fixed amount or percentage of the sale. Be sure to review the tips on car donations page on Give.org to learn about precautions and red flags to consider when making such a generous gift. In addition, this IRS publication provides important tax deductibility information.

Before making a choice of which charity will receive your in-kind contribution, please check the evaluative reports that can be found on BBB’s Give.org to make sure the organization is BBB Accredited (i.e., meets the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.)


Video of the Week

In this episode of our Building Trust Series, BBB WGA talks with Jeff Keith, Founder and CEO of Guardian Group (a BBB Accredited Charity.) Guardian Group's mission is to prevent and disrupt the sex trafficking of women and children while enabling partners to identify victims and predators in the United States. The organization works with former special operations military, law enforcement and intelligence community professionals.


Heart of Giving Podcast

In this week’s Heart of Giving Podcast, Art Taylor, President & CEO, BBB Wise Giving Alliance interviews Brian Crimmins and Nathan Chappell. They discuss their new book "Generosity Crisis: The Case for Radical Connection to Solve Humanity's Greatest Challenges." The book features insights on the decline in the number of U.S. households that donate to charity and identifies potential solutions to this reduction of giving.


Recent Reports

We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors. Visit Give.org or local BBBs to check out any charity before giving. Our recently evaluated charities include:

Finally, remember to let us know by going to www.give.org/charity-inquiry if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one.

TAGS: Donations , Charity
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