In advance of kicking up your party heels on New Year’s Eve, following are three practical things you may want to do before the calendar flips to 2010.

1. Contribute to your alma mater and favorite non-profit groups.
Doing so before calendar year-end can offer tax benefits to you while providing welcome support to your beneficiaries. Philanthropy is a tangible way of expressing gratitude for your alma mater, and it offers valuable resources to the non-profit groups whose mission and work you value. Consider making monthly or annual gifts to these organizations. Every gift makes a difference.

Tip: Establish a monthly – or annual reminder – on your electronic calendar so you can easily make your gifts to these worthy organizations.

2. Donate gently-used items to a local non-profit group.
As is the case with philanthropy, donating clothing, furniture, household goods, and other items before calendar year-end can offer tax benefits to you while providing needed resources to local organizations. Simultaneously declutter your home while providing superfluous items to those who could really use them. Considering doing this on a monthly basis throughout 2010. You’ll be sure to brighten many lives.

3. Pick an organization (or two) where you’ll volunteer in 2010.
Then follow-through by volunteering there regularly throughout the new year. Community service provides needed human resources and support to many millions of people every year. You’ll learn a lot and you’re guaranteed to have a transformative effect on others’ lives.

Wishing you much joy in 2010 as you embrace a spirit of generosity and service.

* Photo by Jonathan Eggers

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