8 Plus Ways to Make a Charitable Donation

How Do You Like to Give?

Today, there are numerous ways in which to make that donation to your favorite cause, from using your checkbook to setting up a foundation to entering your credit card number online. Your donation can be made at all price points and can be packaged according to your preferences, convenience, and size of your pocketbook.

Use Your Checkbook

Man wwriting a check to a charity.
Shannon Long/E+/Getty Images

Making a donation to a charity by writing a check is still the most common form of philanthropy in the world. It is relatively simple and certainly direct. Some of us may have trouble even finding our checkbooks anymore, but we are still more likely to write a check to a charity than hand over our credit card to an online donation form, especially if we are giving a substantial amount. More

Give Through a Donor-Advised Fund

Couple giving a charitable donation.
Musketeer/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Making a donation through donor-advised funds is becoming more popular.

Donor-advised funds are charitable giving accounts offered by a sponsoring organization that are designed as an accessible, simple, and less expensive alternative to private foundations. Put your money in, let the sponsoring institution manage it and then make a donation to the cause of your choice. More

Set Up a Private or Family Foundation

Two women smiling about being donors.
Peathegee Inc/Blend Images/Getty Images

Some high-net-worth donors and families set up private family foundations for their charitable activities.

Although some private foundations are large and well known (the Rockefeller Foundation, for example), with matching staffs, most of the approximately eighty thousand private foundations are unstaffed and have less than $1 million in assets.

Your own foundation is the best way to make sure your charitable contributions entirely match to your values and interests. More

Join a Giving Circle

Group of donors giving to charity with a giving circle.
Morsa Images/Digital Vision/Getty Images

If you've ever belonged to a book or investment club, then you know the basics of a giving circle. Giving circles are relatively new to the philanthropic scene but have gained ground rapidly. Making your donation through a giving circle is both fun and practical. More

Find Intermediaries

Couple figuring out how to direct their charitable donation..
Tetra Images/Getty Images

If you are concerned about making a donation to a particular issue, or even a geographic area, you may want to seek out intermediaries that are working specifically on that issue or in that locale. Making your donation through a trusted group that knows a cause inside and out can be reassuring. More

Give Online

Young woman giving to charity with her iPad.
Blend Images - Peathegee Inc/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Online giving is often called crowdfunding. Donors of modest means, in the aggregate, can make an enormous difference. Online giving is still not the main way that donors give, but it is the fastest growing method.

Young people love online giving.  Some charities are exclusively online. Charity: water, which furnishes communities in developing countries with fresh, clean water; and Kiva, which provides micro-loans to small entrepreneurs around the world, are examples of these digital age organizations. More

Donate Your Car, Food, or Clothing

Odometer of old car.
Jason Doiy/E+/Getty Images

Donating your old car could be just the trick to get it out of your driveway and to do some good. Although there are car donation scams, you can do it in more ways than ever that benefit a great charity. Just follow our rules of the road.

Don't forget about donating other things too, such as furniture, appliances, food, and clothing. Food pantries and thrift shops have more needs than ever. Find these charities in your neighborhood and know that you are engaging in the most direct giving of all. More

Give Your Time

Happy volunteers constructing a house.
Hero Images/Getty Images

Volunteering doesn't cost you a dime, and it is the "in" thing to do these days. More volunteers than ever, in all age groups and from all backgrounds, are finding their way to causes that inspire them. Whether you have one hour a week or one day a year to give, use our tips to help you find your perfect volunteer opportunity. More