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A man is smiling and holding a cardboard box labeled "Donations" while working in a warehouse. Numerous more boxes are stacked in the background. Another person in the foreground is partially visible, also handling boxes for this nonprofit organization, showcasing their investment in community support.

Charitable Giving Strategies Beyond Cash

How will you support your favorite charity this year? A donation by cash or check is always appreciated, and many people do that every year. According to a survey from LendingTree, more than half of Americans (56 percent) donated an average of $574 [1]. Giving money is great; however, sometimes families look for other options to help the organizations they wish to support.

There are several charitable giving strategies that don’t involve money. In this post, we’ll explore a few ideas and how you can use them to make a difference.

7 Ways to Give to Charity Without Money

Not all donations are made with cash. Here are seven alternative ways to give to those in need.

1. Volunteer Your Time

One of the most valuable things you can give to anyone is your time. Non-profit organizations are no exception. Many charities have tight budgets and can’t afford to hire full-time or even part-time workers. Consider signing up to participate in a community event, serve meals, load trucks, or help with manual tasks like sorting, cleaning, and organizing. Even if you’re only able to lend your hand for just a few hours each week, it can make a difference.

2. Volunteer Your Talents

Are you a retired professional? If you have skills and experience in organizing events, leading a team, fundraising, bookkeeping, or event promotion, you can be a tremendous asset to a local charity. Charities operate just like a business, and they don’t always have the financial resources to hire trained individuals for these specific roles.

3. Gift Your Stuff

Instead of giving cash, consider donating assets that you no longer need or are using. From cars to boats, appliances, machinery, or even land, there are organizations who can put your gift to good use.

4. Gift Your Stock

You can donate stocks that have appreciated. Gifting appreciated securities to a charity can allow you to claim the full market value (if you itemize your deductions), but also can potentially lower your taxes. To learn more about how this works, read our post here.

5. Give Away Your Points

Does your credit card give you points every time you spend money? If so, many financial institutions will allow you to transfer those points to one of the many major charities they partner with. Depending on how much you spend in a year and what kind of card you have, this could translate into hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Some card issuers will even increase the redemption value to help support the effort.

6. Spread the Word

Advertising is expensive. Many charities don’t have the means to promote special events through paid campaigns. When supporters speak about their causes on social media platforms and with friends, it can really help to get the word out. Some may choose to “donate their birthday” to a charity, while others raise awareness (and funds) through personal posts.

7. Take Advantage of Employer Matching

Before you donate to a charity, check with your employer to see if they have a matching program. Many employers who want to inspire more charitable giving have programs where they will match your donations. With employer matching, your contribution gets supplemented to make a bigger benefit for the non-profit of your choice.

Does My Volunteer Time Count as a Tax Deduction?

Unfortunately, the IRS does not consider your time to be deductible as a charitable contribution [2]. However, there are many out-of-pocket expenses involved with volunteering that may be tax-deductible.

These may include:

  • The miles that were driven to attend the event
  • Parking expenses
  • Entrance fee
  • The cost of a uniform (if required)
  • Consumable materials you personally brought or donated to the cause (example: painting supplies if you volunteered to paint a house)

Note that if the claimed expenses are valued at $250 or more, then you’ll need written substantiation from the charity [3].

How Will You Donate to Charity Without Money?

Writing a check or handing over cash may be a common way to support a cause. However, there’s always more that you can offer your favorite charity than just money. Think about what talents, skills, or assets you might have, and use what you can to make a difference in the lives of others.

One of the most rewarding parts of being financial planners at SYM is helping clients plan their giving in a way that is most meaningful to their lives. To explore how charitable giving might fit into your financial plan, schedule an appointment with SYM Financial today.


  1. https://www.lendingtree.com/debt-consolidation/charitable-donations-survey-study/
  2. https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tips/charitable-contributions/video-does-the-irs-allow-deductions-for-donated-work/L7E8lfSAh
  3. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/can-you-deduct-expenses-volunteering-charity.html

Disclosure: The opinions expressed herein are those of SYM Financial Corporation (“SYM”) and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to sell any product. SYM reserves the right to modify its current investment strategies and techniques based on changing market dynamics or client needs. This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute investment, legal or tax advice and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a professional legal or tax advisor. SYM is an independent investment adviser registered under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about SYM including our investment strategies, fees, and objectives can be found in our ADV Part 2, which is available upon request.

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