WAYS YOU CAN HELP
Sign up to take surveys online. Survey Monkey is an online survey software. Companies use Survey Monkey to create and run professional online surveys. These surveys are useful in collecting data, feedback, opinions, criticism and suggestions from the general public. Upon signing up with Survey Monkey you will be asked to tell a little about yourself and your interests. Survey Monkey will also ask you to choose a charity to support (preferably an animal charity). Once registered, survey monkey will regularly send you surveys from various companies based on your profile of interests. You will be rewarded for completing each survey with a chance to win prizes plus a $0.50 donation will be donated to the participating charity of your choice. You can register with Survey Monkey using the link provided below.
Organize a drive at your workplace or in your neighborhood. Most charities have a wish list of items needed. Network with friends, neighbors and co-workers to try to collect wish list items (it’s a great way to meet your neighbors and get to know your co-workers).
Sign petitions. Familiarize yourself with charities that are against cruelty or inhumane practices to animals and sign petitions. Share this information with friends, family, co-workers and neighbors to get them to support these causes. Signing petitions will force legislation to do their part. Encourage others to do the same (remember there is strength in numbers).
Foster an animal and provide a safe haven for them until they can be placed in their forever home. Living in temporary shelters until an adoption is final can be very stressful for some animals, shelters also fill up quickly. When you foster a pet you provide a temporary loving home and free up space for newly rescued animals. Shelters realize the expenses that are involved and most will pay or reimburse you for food and vet bills.
Donate your time and driving skills. Offer to transport animals from shelters to vet appointments, from shelters to rescue facilities, or from rescue facilities to their new forever homes. Foster homes may be close by or some may require a much longer trip. Use our Charities/Organizations in Need page as a resource to find one that is close or near you.
Volunteer to walk animals (its great exercise) or help out at a local humane society or shelter. It has been proven that surrounding ourselves with animals can help those suffering from stress, depression, low self-esteem, and anxiety. Volunteer a couple hours a week to socialize and offer playtime with cats in local shelters and humane societies. Cats are very social animals but unlike dogs they are hard to take for walks. They do enjoy playtime and interacting with people.
Use your computer to scan for free items given away on Craigslist. Collect items that are needed by shelters such as sheets, blankets, and bedding. Also rummages are great sources for collecting much needed items. Call local hotels in your area to see if they have any unusable bedding, towels or cleaning supplies that they will donate to a local shelter. Become the source of collection and distribution for these supplies. Use the same idea with local office supply stores. Call to see if there are items they are willing to donate, such as paper, ink, envelopes, and other items that shelters may need.
Enlist the help of teachers, local schools and classrooms. Work together with staff to organize a donation drive or fundraiser at local schools. The shelter you are helping may let you bring in a couple of the adoptable animals so staff and students can see who they are helping. By doing this you can also raise awareness to kids of all ages about caring for pets and the importance of kindness and giving.
Put up a donation jar with a sign on your desk or countertop. Place some literature there to familiarize others about the charity. You may also want to send out a memo or e-mail asking for donations. Fundraisers at work are a great way to get to know your co-workers.
Rendering services is also a great way to help. If you have a skill set that you think would be helpful you may want to donate some of your time for a charities cause. These are called in kind gifts of giving. Seamstresses, carpenters, bakers, accountants, web designers, photographers, and attorneys are all positions that can offer help and assistance to shelters. Many shelters and rescues have limited funds and need these services to keep operating but may not have the budget for them. Creativity is key…everyone has something of value to offer.
Consider a vehicle donation. You may donate a car, boat or RV. Donating your used vehicle to ACE (Animal Charity Evaluators) or V-DAC (Vehicle Donation to any Charity) is easy. You will need the following information; year, make, model, VIN, mileage, title information, and location of the vehicle beforehand. Once donation forms are completed, you’ll get instructions on how to transfer your title and what to do with your old plates. You will then receive notification on how to schedule a pickup of your vehicle. You will also receive a receipt from V-DAC or ACE for your very generous gift – you may keep this receipt for tax purposes. If you should choose to donate your car to charity do some research to protect yourself from fraud and to make sure the charity receives the funds. We do not want to discourage the thoughtful act of donating vehicles to charity. Every donation helps whether large or small. The reality is that there are people or organizations who will take advantage of others kindness. We would like to see your donation to be a positive experience for yourself and the charity you choose to donate to. So please research any organization or company you will be working with. Below are some tips for making your vehicle donation successful. Our Charities/Organizations in Need page has a search option which will allows you to search charities and organizations who accept vehicle donations.
When donating a car … here are some things to consider so to minimize your risk and maximize the benefits to charity.
- Research the charity you plan to give it to. If it doesn’t have 501(c)(3) non-profit status with the IRS, it is not a charity and your donation is not tax-deductible.
- Pick efficient charities to give to. There are multiple organizations such as Charity Watch that evaluate charities and rate them for efficiency in supporting their causes.
- Itemize. To take a tax deduction for a car donation, you have to itemize deductions on your return. There are detailed rules about the amount you can claim. Taxpayers can deduct the full market value of a donated car under three circumstances: The charity uses the car in its operations; it materially improves the vehicle to sell or use it; or the charity donates or sells it to a needy person for below market value. Otherwise, you can only deduct what the charity receives as proceeds from selling the car.
- Get a receipt. Make sure to get a receipt from the charity for the vehicle and eventually a document certifying how much the vehicle was sold for. Charities are required to provide that document within 30 days of selling the car.
- Don’t forget IRS form 8283. If the sale price or fair market value of the car is greater than $500, you have to complete section A of IRS form 8283 and file it with your tax return. Consult the Kelley Blue Book, the Hearst Black Book or National Auto Dealers Association for market values. If the car is worth more than $5,000, you need to get an independent appraisal of it and also complete Section B of Form 8283.
- Drop it off. If the car is road-worthy, drive it yourself to the charity you’re donating to. It saves money and ensures you’re not giving the car to some unrelated, for-profit intermediary. Make sure to sign over the title of the car to the organization and that a representative signs it, as well. If someone is picking the car up, have them sign the title and take a photocopy of it. People have been on the hook for liabilities on donated cars that were not properly signed over to a new owner.
- Snap it. Take pictures of the car and keep receipts for work and repairs done on it — particularly if you’re claiming a deduction for it.
- Read up. Read IRS Publication 4303 — A Donor’s Guide to Car Donations.
Donate securities. Donating appreciated long-term securities (stocks, bonds, and mutual funds) directly to charity can be a smart way to increase your contribution to charities and maximize your tax deduction. By donating securities directly rather than selling them and donating the proceeds after you have paid capital gains taxes you will be able to deduct their full fair market value and donate a larger portion to charity. Speak to a financial planner or tax advisor to determine the best opportunity for you.
Donate through Corporate by employee gift matching. Over 18 million employees in the U.S. work for companies that provide matching gift programs, and yet $6-10 billion in matching gift funds go unclaimed each year. Many employers sponsor matching gift programs and will match charitable contributions or volunteer hours made by their employees. Additionally, some employers provide a service that allows you to designate a percentage of your paycheck to charity. Once you select a recipient, the amount you designate will be automatically deducted from your paycheck and sent to that charity on your behalf. You may inquire with your company’s Human Resources Department to see if they offer a workplace giving program.
Donate while shopping online. Many online retailers and online payment services are now offering ways to forward funds to selected charities to make giving easier. AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as Amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice. Ebay will also allow you to donate to Animal Charity Evaluators anytime you use PayPal on eBay. EBay has partnered with the PayPal Giving Fund to provide an easy way for people to donate to charity, whether they are buying or selling on eBay.
Use GoodSearch when searching the web. You can support Animal Charity Evaluators while searching the web through GoodSearch. Go to GoodSearch.com, click Join Now, and choose Animal Charity Evaluators as your charity. Anytime you search the internet using GoodSearch, Animal Charity Evaluators will get a penny. Pennies add up, especially if you consider how often we click the mouse. Every little bit helps!
Use your talents. If you can sew, make cage comforters. Small quilts change the lives of shelter animals. Not only do they make the cage a more comfortable place to be, but they also can help to increase an animal’s chances of adoption by reducing stress and allowing potential adopters to more easily see the animals as part of their homes and lives.
Consider leaving a charitable contribution in your inheritance. Many of us don’t put much thought into where we’ll leave our inheritance, or worse, don’t write up any instructions at all. Instead of rushing this important decision, we should think about the best way to make our last contributions produce a positive impact in society. Consider the difference you could make for animals. While it may seem like a daunting task, making a will is easier than you’d think. You can find convenient templates online and you should take action sooner rather than later to ensure that whatever happens, your assets help animals. Wills can always be changed down the road.