Holiday do’s and don’t’s (not-quite-Hanukkah edition)

DO take that plate/jar/barrel of change on your desk/chest of drawers/nightstand and give it away.  Secularist and supporter of women’s and gay rights that she is, the Nonprofiteer recommends walking right past the Salvation Army bell-ringer and into your supermarket or drugstore, where you’ll find a Coinstar machine ready to waive its counting fee if you donate your coins to one of the company’s charity partners (such as the US Fund for UNICEF, America’s Second Harvest and the March of Dimes).

If you run a charity, DON’T forget to prepare to accept gifts of stock.  No matter how dire the headlines, wealthy people are always going to spend December figuring out how to minimize their taxes, and to do this there’s nothing like a donation of appreciated stock, which at one and the same time eliminates taxes on capital gains and reduces them on ordinary income.  A charitable friend of ours reports she’s called Heifer International three times for instructions on how to make such a donation, and been met each time by complete incomprehension on the part of the person answering the phone; nor has the agency had anyone more clue-ful return her call.  Expensive moo-stake.

Finally, DO give something of which everybody has plenty and for which there’s no substitute.  They won’t take more than you can afford and your supply will replenish itself in six weeks.  Donate blood.  It’s good for you; it takes less than an hour soup to nuts; they’ll even check your cholesterol; and–if you’re anything like the Nonprofiteer–you’ll feel virtuous unto smugness for the rest of the day. 

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