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Charitable organizations need both time and money to operate and achieve their missions effectively. Which one is more important? Here are things to consider.


It’s important to remember that you have limited resources. Unless you’re very wealthy, you have a limited budget. Most people are pressed for time and can’t volunteer endlessly. One great way to help charities that help you is by donating items. If you have lots of clutter, giving items away doesn’t cost you anything. This can include anything from clothing to toys to canned goods. Go to the charity’s website or contact them before sending your donation. This is also good for the environment, as it reuses items. If you want a deduction, make sure to keep proper records and get a receipt from the nonprofit. If the item is worth over $500, the IRS usually requires an appraisal.


Regarding money versus time: it depends on the organization. Often, you can do both.


Some large national nonprofits, in many cases, will only accept money. It’s liquid, and the charity can purchase anything. There’s no sorting, and it can be used instantly. If you’ve done well in financial markets, you can give appreciated stock. That way, you avoid capital gains.


However, it’s important to remember that many charities are already well funded. They might have connections to corporations or received grants from foundations and the government. Sometimes, they need boots on the ground to deliver services. This is especially true during certain times. For example, a soup kitchen might need extra help on the weekend or during holidays.


Volunteering usually doesn’t cost you anything. Most people have some spare free time. Volunteering is usually social. You’ll get in contact with people and might even make some new friends. You’ll often pick up new skills, and it could be a resume builder. If you volunteer, you meet the people you help directly. The human aspect is much better than just signing a check. It might keep you more motivated to be consistent and make it long-term.


That being said, a combination of time and money is often best. You could donate both time and money to a soup kitchen. You’ll meet the leaders and some of the regulars, which will make a more meaningful experience.


Nonprofit organizations need both time and money to run. There are plenty of things to consider when choosing which to donate.