You've given your time, your money, and your old clothes, but what about one of these 10 unusual donations you may not have considered.
1. Air miles
The Economist estimated that there are over 14 trillion frequent flyer miles left unclaimed, which could be worth as much as $700 billion. If you've got a few billion miles lying around, why not donate a few to charity? Popular airlines like Delta and American Airlines have programs that allow their customers to donate accumulated miles to fly families and patients to treatment facilities around the world. Another platform, Mileage, is helping charity set up frequent flyer fundraising campaigns that support programs such as health and human service initiatives in Haiti.
One of the stars of Jay-Z and Kanye West's 'Otis' music video, a heavily modified (and somewhat ruined) Maybach sports luxury car, was sold in auction for $60,000 in support of Save the Children, a heavy discount from the original price of $350,000. The Elton John AIDS Foundation auctions a new Audi every year, including chrome R8 in 2011 that went for over $500,000. Although a custom celebrity vehicle might fetch more for a cause than your station wagon, chances are it could do some good. Before you hand over the keys, take a look at the guidelines set up by Charity Navigator
to avoid getting taken advantage off.
Forbes reported last year, "New York hedge fund billionaire Louis Bacon announced his intentions a few months ago to donate 90,000 acres of land in Colorado toward the creation of the Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area. The donation is the "largest single conservation easement" given to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, according to U.S. Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, and will help to preserve a southern portion of the state that includes mountain grasslands, alpine forests and some of the state's highest peaks." Like Mr. Bacon, you too may be sitting on a valuable piece of land, and many organizations are now accepting land donations. Although most properties aren't large enough to be turned into conservatories, why not send a few acres to a charity like The Nature Conservancy
Do you have a few thousand, hundreds or even a handful of eager followers on Twitter? Many causes are running drives and asking their supporters to donate a pre-written tweet about their campaign. Services like justcoz.org
and Donate Your Account
highlight many different organizations and offer pre-written tweets for any tweeter looking to help get the word out.
Organ donations happen among families and friends all the time, but what is stopping you from giving up that right kidney or a piece of liver to a perfect stranger? There is always the national bone marrow registry, too. Not comfortable with a living donation? Maybe it's time to consider organ donation
, or donating your body to science posthumous.
This isn't just for starving college students. Donating your eggs, sperm or embryo is an incredible gift of life. This can be one of the most life-changing donations you can give, and it is available to almost all of us. Learn more from the National Embryo Donation Academy
Cut off your locks and give them to someone who has lost theirs. Not only is the donation of hair a needed gift for many struggling with cancer and other diseases, but it is also an eye-opening experience for the giver. Just make sure to grow it long and shampoo at least twice a week. Groups like Wigs For Kids
, Pantene's Beautiful Lengths
, and Locks of Love
8. Old Cell Phones
Who wants that two month old smartphone? Yep, it's outdated already. Well, maybe to you, but it's still useful to others. In fact, organizations such as Verizon's Hopeline
collect old cell phones to distribute to domestic abuse victims and survivors. Your cell phone could also help a hero with organizations such as Cell Phones for Soldiers
. So, next time you upgrade, consider giving away your old cell phone to a good cause.
Copyrights encourage innovation and reward invention. With the advent of the internet, and in the spirit of spreading knowledge, many copyright owners are now forfeiting their rights in favor of donating materials to organizations such as Wikipedia
. This is a gift for the greater (and smarter) good.
10. Online Shopping
Nearly every time you make a purchase online you could be supporting charity. The company I work for, We-Care.com
, allows users to generate donations when they make purchases at over 2,600 online merchants at no extra cost to them. Other companies, such as 1% For The Planet
, list companies that are donating at least 1% of their sales to charity. Next time you're shopping online, consider going through We-Care.com
or looking for the 1% logo to turn a bit of consumerism into humanitarianism.
Follow Dylan Nord on Twitter: