News & Updates


Wise Giving Wednesday: Alternatives to Cash Donations

Dec 8, 2021

Donation Alternatives


As we approach the end of the year, many households may find themselves not being able to donate as much cash as they would like but still wanting to help charities. One survey question featured in our 2021 Donor Trust Report asked respondents to identify the top three most impactful ways to make a difference. 44.8% of participants identified donating items as a preferred way to make a difference. In fact, gift-in-kind donations has been the most frequently chosen category since 2017. Here are some in-kind donation options to consider.

Donating 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.)

Donating Food. The donation of nonperishable food, such as canned or boxed foods is another option. Many food banks across the country have experienced high demand. To help locate one near you, visit the website of Feeding America (a BBB Accredited Charity.)

Donating Clothing. There are quite a few charities that welcome donated used clothing at any time during the year. Keep in mind that donated used clothing should be in good condition. A torn sweatshirt, or shoes with broken heals won’t do. 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.

Donating Furniture. Some charities also welcome used furniture donations which are sold in their thrift stores. First, make sure that a charity will accept such a donation. Sometimes, you can also arrange for a scheduled pickup of furniture at your home.

Donating 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 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 to make sure the organization is BBB Accredited (i.e., meets the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability.) 

Video of the Week

As part of our Building Trust Video Series, we are pleased to provide a video featuring Lisa Gurwitch, President and CEO of Delivering Good, a BBB Accredited Charity that provides donated essential items such as clothing, books, home goods and toys to serve needy children, families and individuals in all 50 states.

Heart of Giving Podcast

This week's Heart of Giving Podcast provides an interview with Nicholas Tedesco, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Center for Family Philanthropy, about the work he does to educate families to be effective philanthropists. The Center aims to ensure that philanthropic families gain clarity of purpose and achieve meaning and impact in their giving. 

Recent Reports

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

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

H. Art Taylor, President & CEO
BBB Wise Giving Alliance