Give away your time

By Dan Kadlec, contributing editor


BILLIONAIRES: Sit on nonprofit boards.

YOU: Give your time to your favorite cause.

For the rich, generous gifts often lead to a seat on the board of directors and a real say in how a charity is run. You can get close to the inner workings of your favorite cause by offering your time and talent.

Don't underestimate the value of what you can provide. A typical volunteer hour at, say, a soup kitchen or in your parks department is worth $20.85 to the organization, according to Independent Sector, a group that tracks nonprofits.

If you have professional skills -- medical, legal, accounting, tech -- your time is worth around $100 an hour, estimates Social Venture Partners International, a nonprofit that supports philanthropy.

Volunteering is most valuable when you are dependable. Commit to at least four hours a month for one year, and shoot for a role you're prepared for so the charity doesn't have to train you, says Heisman of the National Philanthropic Trust.

You can't write off the value of your time on your taxes, though any expenses you incur, such as office supplies or building materials, are deductible. You're not likely to reap giant tax savings from volunteer work, of course. Says Heisman, "Charity is about more than the tax benefits."

Additional reporting by Ryan Derousseau. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.92%3.92%
15 yr fixed3.11%3.05%
5/1 ARM3.05%3.03%
30 yr refi3.98%4.00%
15 yr refi3.13%3.10%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,075.54 63.60 0.35%
Nasdaq 5,094.78 18.25 0.36%
S&P 500 2,114.21 4.61 0.22%
Treasuries 2.33 0.06 2.74%
Data as of 9:47am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Micron Technology In... 27.83 0.04 0.14%
Bank of America Corp... 16.78 0.11 0.69%
Hewlett-Packard Co 34.12 0.24 0.71%
Lennar Corp 47.30 0.25 0.53%
Facebook Inc 81.48 1.04 1.29%
Data as of 9:32am ET

Sections