In my last blog post, I offered a list of invaluable resources to make the impossible task of spending money just a little bit easier. It's so hard, right? You're welcome.
In all seriousness, it can be tough figuring out how to optimize the impact of your hard-earned cash when you're ready to make a charitable donation. Similarly, when you find yourself holding onto useful items for which you no longer have need (think clothes, electronics, etc.), it’s all too easy to throw them in the trash. Finding a good home takes time and effort; luckily, several organizations are ready to take those donations off your hands and put them to better use.
1) Zealous Good – This Chicago organization is awesome. Choose from a number of categories of goods you want to donate. Provide a description, a picture and a value. Then comes the best part…they’ll pick it up! Could it be any easier?
2) Goodwill – We’ve all been there to snag an ugly sweater for the holidays, but have you thought about giving away lightly used clothes and furniture? Goodwill may pick up your items if you have a lot to give, but if you have time, I suggest dropping by the store in person (1201 W. Washington in Chicago). You’ll feel good handing off your donations to the Goodwill employee who is gaining valuable job training and professional skills thanks to contributions like yours.
3) Dress for Success – Support this Chicago-headquartered organization that helps women build confidence and career skills by donating business attire.
4) Chicago Shares – Visit the website to purchase “Chicago Shares Vouchers,” which are one-dollar vouchers (sold in $5 increments) that can only be used for food and toiletries at designated locations throughout the Loop and River North. Once they've arrived in the mail, keep them in your bag or wallet so you have them on hand when you pass someone less fortunate or homeless. If you have ever had doubts handing over a fiver to a stranger on the street, Chicago Cares Vouchers are a great alternative!
5) Anything else – I could keep blogging, but Miss Minimalist has already done the work for me by putting together a wonderful list of donation recipients categorized by item type!