Besides helping worthy organizations, giving to nonprofits saves you money on your tax returns if you itemize the deductions properly. To avoid the mistake of under- or overvaluing your donations, read the guidelines in IRS Publication 561 (www.irs.gov).
Appliances & Furniture
Goodwill (www.goodwill.org) and The Salvation Army (www.salvationarmy.com) still offer to pick up from your home. If you're willing to deliver the goods yourself local churches, synagogues, homeless shelters, schools, senior centers, and theater companies (think props!) may want your old artwork, books, CDs, videos, computers, furniture, rugs, and kitchenware.
The National Furniture Bank Association (www.thenfba.org) routes your donated furniture, and sometimes kitchenware, to the Partnership for the Homeless and other nonprofits that help people set up households. Donors pay for removal.
The Donation Center at www.geappliances.com lists national charities willing to cart away old models, free of charge, as long as they're in working order.
Odds & Ends
Type your area code at www.inkindex.com, a free Internet matching service, and a list of goods requested by local nonprofits pops up. If you have what they need, you contact them and arrange to drop it off or have them pick it up.
Match your giveaways (rugs, art, furniture) with nonprofits in your area that need them at www.access.com. A $10 registration fee allows you to post your offerings and view organizations' wish lists. Recipients take care of the pickup.
Gifts for Sight (www.giftsforsight.org) will take almost anything—even old cars and boats—which it then sells to fund medical research. Call 800-329-6441 to arrange for free pickup.
Computers & Books
The World Computer Exchange (www.worldcomputerexchange.org), Computers 4 Kids (www.c4k.org), Computers for Schools (www.pcs forschools.org), and The National Cristina Foundation (www.cristina.org) will take your old hardware, refurbish it, and distribute it to economically disadvantaged youths in the United States and around the world.
The Global Literacy Project INC. (www.glpinc.org), Darien Book Aid (www.dba.darien.org), and the International Book Project (www.intlbookproject.org) send books to libraries, schools, prisons, hospitals, and communities to promote literacy. Check each website for guidelines. Donors pay for shipping.