One way to get a unique benefit out of a charitable contribution is to donate money to an art museum--some have programs that allow companies to borrowart for their offices in return for donations.

For example, the Boston real estate investment firm of Aldrich, Eastman & Waitch (AE&W) was lent 20 original prints and paintings in exchange for a$5,000 donation to a local museum. "For a relatively modest contribution," says William Helm, AE&W president, "we get art that would require enormousinvestment if we were to buy it." Not only that, but when the firm moved to larger quarters, museum experts came in and designed wall space and lighting forfree. The company also got some good publicity by hosting after-hours art shows when the work first went up.

Museums that have lent work in the past include the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, in Lincoln, Mass.; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; theWhitney Museum of American Art, in New York City; and the Orlando Museum of Art. Some lend from collections, and others lend from special galleries ofemerging artists. Some even offer lease-to-buy deals, in case you fall in love with a particular work.