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How to donate on a tight budget

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When the economy is bad, more people turn to charities for help.A story in today's Journal-World quotes a representative from a local social service agency saying that more people on the upper end of income guidelines are likely to ask for help this year in Lawrence.That story also found that there are a lot of people and organizations donating to local charitable efforts as the holiday season arrives, but more donations are always welcomed.It may be hard for some families to make monetary donations to charities this year but there are other ways to help out. Below are some tips from the Better Business Bureau of Northeast Kansas.Toys, food and other items. Many organizations can put "in-kind" gifts to good use. The donor should contact the charity and find out what donated items are needed. Disposing of unwanted gifts costs charities in manpower and fuel.Shop thrifty. Goodwill Industries reports that as personal finances shrink, more people are buying donated clothes at its stores.Car donations. Changes in tax rules beginning in 2005 have in many cases lowered charitable deductions for car donations.Donate your time. Donors can volunteer their time during the holiday season. The personal rewards can be great and can be as important to the charity as a cash contribution.Donate your voice. Many charity Web sites have "advocate" as well as "donate" buttons. Those charities are telling donors that their advocacy can help advance practices that will contribute to their missions.

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