It sounds a little counterintuitive: Dog and cat food, litter and leashes aren’t at the top of most shelters’ wish lists, but paper, pens, phones, faxes are. At least, according to the 250 animal shelters and nonprofits to register their needs on TheGivingEffect.com.
While cash contributions are usually preferred, not everyone is in a position to give. The benefit to in-kind donations (clothes, shoes, food, etc.) is that folks who want to help but are short on cash may have items in their homes that they no longer need (a replaced printer, for example) but which could help a local shelter. The Giving Effect, a free website that launched last month, connects donors with items to spare directly with the organizations in need. Win-win.
According to TheGivingEffect.com, animal shelters top five most requested items are:
1. Office supplies (computers, printers, fax machines, phones, paper, pens)
2. Cleaning supplies (bleach, laundry detergent, Fantastik, Windex)
3. Blankets, sheets and towels
4. Miscellaneous items that can be sold to raise money
5. Building supplies (to construct fences, crates, dog runs)
Since most shelters are 501c3 nonprofits, these contributions likely qualify as a tax write-off.