Donating to the Red Cross: Ideas for impactful giving

#GivewithMeaning during Holiday Campaign, kicking off on Giving Tuesday

Ben Bisbee, Grants Specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio

December 2, 2019- Every donation to the American Red Cross matters. Your gift of money or blood, time or talents, allows the Red Cross to smartly convert every kind of gift given to help people in need every single day. But when it comes to the topic of donations, it’s often unknown how many fantastic ways there are to donate to the Red Cross.

So this holiday season, we thought it would be smart to showcase all the dynamic ways you can powerfully and thoughtfully donate a gift to the Red Cross beyond the classic gift of credit, cash or checks.

REGULAR or SUSTAINING AUTOMATED GIFT

Preparedness is a major focus of the Red Cross mission. If you include the Red Cross as part of your annual or often-giving intentions, you can help us better plan and be prepared. Consider setting up a regular automated gift, such as monthly, quarterly, semi or annually. Many individuals and families choose this option to increase their giving without having to give one lump sum at one time. For some, it seems easier to give, say, $250 a month rather than $3,000 all at once.

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VEHICLE DONATION

Like a scene out of a movie or auto commercial, who doesn’t love the gift of a car for the holidays? The American Red Cross Vehicle Donation Program is an easy and effective revenue donation opportunity for anyone with a car, van, truck, RV, boat, tractor, heavy equipment or jet ski in almost any condition to simply donate their item as a cash donation. We work with a vendor to provide services from the time of donation through the initial acknowledgement to you, the donor, as well as post-donation customer service support.

LEAVE A LEGACY – PLANNED GIVING

  • Your passionate display of support can continue to make a difference. You can become a member of our Legacy Society simply by including the Red Cross in your estate planning. Many choose to be in our Legacy Society just by designating the Red Cross as a beneficiary of a life or insurance policy or a portion of their estate. By doing so and working with a financial advisor, this can benefit the Red Cross and leave a lasting legacy in your name.

GIFT OF STOCK

Sometimes donors consider making a gift of cash after selling key stock. This is a wonderful way to donate. However, we sometimes encourage a directed gift of stock to the Red Cross by the financial institution instead of converting a gift into cash first. This is because with a gift of appreciated securities held long-term, both the donation you make and the deduction you get are greater if you were to sell the shares and donate the cash proceeds. Essentially, this process allows you to avoid paying capital gains tax. Since 2019 has had such a robust stock market, this may be a great option for many. But please consult with your financial advisor/accountant.

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GIFT OF MUTUAL FUND 

The gift of a mutual fund is very similar to stock (donate directly vs. selling). However, there are some limitations, especially with regard to length of holding. After consulting with a financial advisor, the Red Cross will be glad to receive such a gift.

IRA ROLL-OVER

If you’re a donor over the age of 71, you have a unique option to give a special gift. The Charitable IRA Rollover allows individuals age 70½ and older to make direct transfers of up to $100,000 per year (and up to $200,000 per year for married couples) from individual retirement accounts to the Red Cross without having to count the transfers as income for federal tax purposes.

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SPECIAL EVENTS HELP SUPPORT THE OVERALL MISSION

Like many nonprofits, the American Red Cross enjoys the excitement and interaction of community events as fundraising opportunities. In 2020, you may consider participation in one or more of our upcoming major events:

  • Acts of Courage Awards, the Red Cross of Summit, Portage and Medina Counties March 5.
  • Greater Cleveland Hero Awards Breakfast March 12.
  • BASH, Stark and Muskingum Lakes fundraising auction, May 30.
  • Acts of Courage Awards, the Red Cross Lake to River Chapter June 11.
  • Red Cross Cup golf outing September 21.

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Donating to the American Red Cross can be a rich and diverse experience depending on your opportunities and objectives. We hope these ideas will inspire you to think differently about ways you can contribute now or in the future. If you have any questions, contact Michelle Polinko, regional chief development officer, at 216-233-9645 or Michelle.Polinko@RedCross.org.

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