How to decide where to donate your coronavirus stimulus check if you don't need the money

A volunteer places ears of corn and a bag of oranges from the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida into the trunk of a car.
Photo | Paul Hennessy | NurPhoto | Getty Images

CNBC Make It is posting a new financial task to tackle each day for a month. These are all meant to be simple, time-sensitive activities to take your mind off of the news for a moment and, hopefully, put you on sturdier financial footing. This is day 14 of 30.

If you're one of the Americans who received a coronavirus stimulus check in the past week and don't immediately need the money, there are countless ways you can donate your check to those in need. 

Today, consider where your money can make the most impact and donate a portion of your check if you are financially able to. There are countless organizations to donate to, so select issues that are important to you and your community. That could be to your local food bank, to health care workers or a fund for restaurant workers. If you need more ideas, CNBC Make It previously vetted nonprofits and charities that are taking donations for coronavirus relief. 

Some underrepresented communities, including some immigrant workers, do not qualify for stimulus checks because they do not have the proper documentation. Community groups across the country are accepting donations to help these families. Find a local fundraiser by searching your city and immigrant relief efforts, or search for community trusts in your area. 

On the national level, GiveDirectly's Covid-19 cash program sends $1,000 directly to SNAP recipients. Your donations to its general U.S. response fund are sent to the areas in the U.S. with the greatest need, or you can select a city-specific fund for the Bay AreaLas VegasNew York City or Seattle.

You can also think about your own family and friends: Do you know someone who was laid off or became ill and might have medical bills to pay off? You might reach out to them, even if they don't come to you for help first.

Remember, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allows Americans to deduct up to $300 from their 2020 taxes for charitable contributions, even if you don't itemize your taxes. 

If you don't have extra money to donate, you may be able to donate blood, which is much needed as thousands of blood drives across the country have been canceled. Health care workers also need medical supply donations. Some professionals, including financial planners, lawyers, tax prepares and housing advocates are offering their services pro bono to those in need — you could join their efforts if you have the appropriate skills. If you have a sewing machine and extra fabric, consider sewing cloth masks for your community. 

Finally, scams abound during times of crisis and there is no shortage of coronavirus-related fraud. Before you donate money anywhere, properly vet the organization. You can look it up on a watchdog site such as Charity NavigatorCharityWatchBBB Wise Giving Alliance and Great Nonprofits, which give ratings to organizations. If you are donating to a crowdfunding site, carefully read the description and make sure the fundraiser stipulates how the donations will be dispersed. You can also always call a foundation or nonprofit and ask how they will use the funds.

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