If you're considering charitable donations and have an art collection, consider giving the gift of art.

In the U.S. alone, there are more than 700 college and university art museums and galleries. Since most are open to the public, lending or donating a work from your collection to one can be a great way to give back to the community. And it can be a good financial decision as well.

There are many different motivations for giving art. You might have a painting or sculpture languishing in storage because you've moved to a new house that doesn't accommodate it.

Others inherit art but prefer not to take on the expense of adding it to their homeowners' insurance.

In order to properly insure valuable artworks, “the owner must provide a valid appraisal every two years. For a painting worth say, $100,000, that will add $100 per year to your policy," said Leonard Therrien of Allstate Insurance.

Perhaps it's your reunion year or your child's college is raising money for a new science complex and you want to give at the highest level. The appraisal you submit will be the dollar amount credited to your name. A valuable art donation will not only land you in a top donor tier, but will also boost the giving drive and incentivize others to give.

“A gift-in-kind is booked as cash, so while a work of art won't actually help build the new library, the dollar amount is included in the total for the capital campaign," said James Mundy, the Anne Hendricks Bass director at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College.

What if you're not ready to part with your art permanently? An option is to lend it to your favorite museum.

“Loans are either accepted for defined periods for exhibitions, display in the permanent galleries or occasionally for study. There is no minimum time restrictions on loans," said Nancy Thomas, senior deputy director at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Her institution prefers loans of at least a year, but that is not binding.

When individuals lend their artworks, “we hope that it looks good on our walls and that when the lender sees it, he or she might consider donating it," Mundy said. While the art is on loan, the institution will cover the insurance, maintain it and have it properly installed.

“We have blanket insurance coverage that well exceeds the value of all loans at any given time, so we can insure anything while it's on our premises. We ask the lender to supply [an appraisal showing] the value of the work. If there is a loss, then the insurance company and lender would come to an agreement as to the actual replacement value," he said, adding that the circumstance has not arisen.

The best way to get your work of art appraised is to take it to the dealer who represents the artist or the artist's estate. Otherwise you can find a certified art appraiser in your area.

You must submit that appraisal with your tax return if you plan on deducting its value as a charitable donation.

Here are four points to consider if you plan to donate art:

1. Not All Art Is Accepted

Not all works of art are accepted by every museum or gallery. The acquisition committee will decide if yours is right for their collection. “We will never accept work that we wouldn't exhibit," Mundy said.

2. Limit Restrictions

Most collections prefer gifts without restrictions. At LACMA, “we prefer to accept works with the least amount of restrictions … and any proposed restrictions on gifts need to be approved by the acquisitions committee of our Board of Trustees," Thomas said.

3. Museum "Deaccessioning"

Be aware that the museum you donate to may one day sell your piece as part of its “deaccessioning" process. All museums occasionally cull their collections based on condition, redundancy and relevance. If you're concerned about this, ask them to provide you with their specific guidelines for this process when you make your donation.

4. Consider a Fundraiser Donation

If it's not quite museum-worthy, consider donating your artwork to a fundraiser like a silent auction. Regardless of what your piece sells for, you will receive a tax credit for the appraised value of your donation.

Remember that unless you request anonymity, your name will be included in the description of the art you donate and you will forever remain a part of that collection. If you're an art lover, this is a wonderful way to enhance your legacy, ensure that your artwork will be well cared for and that it will continue to be appreciated and enjoyed by future generations.

City National, as a matter of policy, does not give tax, accounting, regulatory or legal advice. Rules in the areas of law, tax, and accounting are subject to change and open to varying interpretations. You should consult with your other advisers on the tax, accounting and legal implications of any proposed strategies based on your particular circumstances.