Donating to the needy benefits the recipient, but it also benefits the donor in a variety of ways, from financial considerations to improvements in physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual well-being. Before donating to the needy, do some research to determine which charitable organizations support causes that are important to you.
Donations to nonprofit organizations and charitable groups are tax-deductible. In addition, gas, parking, and money spent in relation to the donation is also deductible as long as you aren't reimbursed by the organization. As a result, donating to charity reduces your taxable income. Certain donations provide even more tax breaks, depending on the charity, the amount of the gift, the age of the donor, and other factors. Ask an accountant or financial adviser to provide specific information.
Note that if you donate a stock, bond, or mutual fund shares directly to charity, you won't owe capital gains taxes. In addition, assuming you've owned the security for more than a year, you can deduct the full market value -- not just the amount you originally invested.
For many donors, giving to the needy provides a golden opportunity for learning about issues surrounding that particular need. Most people prefer to learn about a charity before donating, which in turn offers a wider perspective. Donating to worthy causes reveals new information and access to differing points of view about social issues such as mental illness, homelessness, hunger or poverty.
One primary benefit of donating time or money is the opportunity to develop connections with other like-minded and passionate people. Donating time or money is an effective way to meet new people and to become more involved with issues that hold particular meaning for you. For many people, the feelings of kindness and generosity involved in donating to the needy result in overall improved feelings towards other people.
Donating to the needy is an effective way to improve your neighborhood or community. Donating money to worthy organizations helps alleviate poverty, hunger, homelessness and at the same time, it can improve community life by promoting honesty, friendliness and trust among residents. According to the Heritage Foundation, charitable donations foster increased levels of prosperity, enhanced happiness and health, cooperation, good will and strong communities.
According to Tracey L. Chavous, Health and Wellness writer for the DC Spotlight Newspaper, generosity releases endorphins that promote feelings of calmness, peace, satisfaction and gratitude that help to ease tension and stress. As a result, people who help the needy benefit in a number of ways -- including a stronger immune system, lower heart rate, increased energy, diminished pain and lower blood pressure.
M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.