Donating and Deducting

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

For anyone who files the family taxes, finding deductions is an effort which gives great rewards. One of the easiest places to find deductions is in tax deductible donations to charities. Any donation made to a non-profit charity can be claimed on income tax as a deduction.


Familiar to most are the organizations such as Good Will which accept a variety of items and then resell them in thrift stores. However, there are other less known charities that accept specialized items, all of which can be claimed as charitable donations.

Be a Fairy Godmother or Godfather

Formal dresses can find new homes at the Cinderella Project of New Hampshire. The mission of this organization is to distribute formal dresses to high school students in New Hampshire who are facing financial difficulty. Sister organizations allow the same to be done in various states across the country. Donations of dresses, accessories, unopened cosmetics and hosiery, as well as monetary donations are accepted throughout the year. Through volunteers, known as "fairy godmothers and godfathers," the organization distributes the dresses to teens who are eligible.


"We wish our volunteers could all see the sighs of relief for the low income families so they can appropriate their budgets for school clothing instead of prom gowns," says Joanne Sowa of the Cinderella Project.

Information about donations as well as sister organizations can be found at or by contacting 603-472-8043.

Take a Step Up

Used athletic shoes aren't for the trash can anymore. Instead, they are recycled into athletic surfaces thanks to Nike and its Reuse-A-Shoe program which began in 1993. Any brand of athletic shoe can be donated to the charity which then shreds them and creates new surfaces such as basketball courts and running tracks for community parks and recreation facilities around the world that otherwise couldn't afford such expensive playing areas.


Shoes donated to the Reuse-A-Shoe program should not be tied together and should be mailed to an appropriate drop off center. Information about the program can be found on Nike's website at Follow the links under the "responsibility" tab then the "environment" tab. An interactive map is available for drop off locations.

Give It One More Read

Books are a great donation item. Local libraries often sell used books as fundraisers, and since many states have cut library budgets the sale of used books often provides for library activites such as children's summer reading programs. Most libraries, however, do not want books such as Reader's Digest, textbooks, and harlequin-style romance.

Textbooks do have their own place. Check for local adult literacy programs who often build their libraries around donated books. Daycares and YMCAs often do the same. One organization which accepts textbooks in quantity is Bridge to Asia. Through donations, it supplies educational materials to developing countries. Over 6 million books have been delivered to over 1000 different schools in various countries in the last 16 years of operation. Information can be found at 415-678-2990

Financial Planning

About The Author: Kelly Ann Butterbaugh is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to a variety of magazines as well as online newsletters. She teaches writing in the public school as well as at the collegiate level. Contact her at or visit her website at

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