The Good You Do When You Donate to Charity
Americans are generous people. Every year, the vast majority of us donate our money, time and used items to charities. In 2014, people in the United States donated about $358.4 billion. Many people ask, “what are the best charities to donate to?” The answer is that whatever charity you prefer, whose philosophy matches up with yours is the best for you to give to. There are charities in all 50 states that handle a host of issues. From helping families in need to helping disabled veterans or helping homeless or abused animals, you can find the right one for you. The answer to that question, “what are the best charities to donate to?” really depends on you and what your goals are with making your donation. Here are some of the good you can do when you make charitable clothing donations, for instance.
- You help disaster victims. Many people do not realize this but the United States is home to the most catastrophic weather on the planet. We are subject to hurricanes, tornadoes, and blizzards. When you factor in earthquakes and wildfires, you have a recipe for some real tragedies. When these crises strike, the question, “what are the best charities to donate to?” becomes simpler. Many people are forced out of their homes with nothing but the clothing on their back. Look for charities that take clothing after a natural disaster.
- You help people around the world. When people make donations of clothing, they do not always realize that their items may end up in the developing world. When they find themselves in one of these countries, the local people can buy them at a fraction of the cost. It has been estimated that 14.3 million tons of textiles from the United States are out there helping people in other counties clothe their families.
- You help people in the United States clothe their families. A lot of the charities that accept used clothing donations will sell them in their consignment shops at a much lower price than the clothes were originally bought for. That means people who may not be able to afford clothing in department stores or other places can afford to buy the items their families need.
- You help homeless animals. When people donate blankets or clothing that cannot be worn or used by people, that does not mean it cannot have a purpose. Many charities take the textiles and other items that they cannot use or sell and donate them to animal shelters where they are used to keep cats and dogs warm (by lining the kennels and cages).
- You help charities pay their bills. Charities rely on donations of items and clothing to pay for their operations. When they have a store, they can use the sales of your items to fund the important work they do in your community and around the world. For many charities, these sales make up the lion’s share of their funding.
- You lower your carbon footprint. When you throw away clothing, it ends up in a landfill. Every year, people in the United States send about 10.5 million tons of clothing to landfills. Not only does it take up valuable space but it does not break down the same way. Even biodegradable items cannot break down aerobically, therefore, as they disintegrate, they release greenhouse gases that are responsible for climate change. Donating clothing prevents this.
- You lower your tax bill. This is one area where it is a good idea to ask, “what are the best charities to donate to?” The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) treats donations of clothing or other items the same way that it does cash. The caveat is that you have to donate to a charity with a 501(c)3 rating. Make sure the charity you donate to has that and keep your records to lower your bill on tax day.
- It makes you happier. Research has been done showing, time and time again, that people who donate their time, their money, or belongings are happier than people who do not. Maybe it is because you are accumulating good karma or because of something else but you will be much healthier and happier when you donate your stuff to charity.