This weekend, I’m participating in a fundraiser for a cause that’s close to my heart. Over the course of the evening, a few dollars may pass from my pocket to the cause, but most of my contribution will be in the form of time and effort. Even without big bucks, my help will make a difference. If you, too, have limited funds, try these ways to be charitable when you don’t have enough cash.
#1 Donate Your Possessions
Donations don’t always come in the form of money. Often, charities also need items, including items that you havelying around your house. Clothes, jackets and shoes are common needs. Even worn-out shoes can be given new life through a recycling program. Churches, childcare centers, and schools may be able to use your children’s outgrown books and toys. Many organizations can also benefit from your donations of larger items, such as cars and appliances. Keep in mind that your tangible donations may be tax deductible.
#2 Give Homemade Goods
If you are handy or crafty, you can make items at home that will benefit good causes. If you can sew, make blankets for children’s organizations or a local homeless shelter. If knitting is more your thing, consider creating hats for babies or sweaters for animals.
You can also put your talents to work making items that a group could use for fundraising. For example, some shoppers will pay good money for restored furniture; donate pieces that your favorite group could sell at their next auction. People who like to cook can make homemade goods to donate to a fundraising bake sale.
#3 Promote Good Causes
Just because an organization is near and dear to your heart, that doesn’t mean that it’s important to everyone. In fact, many of the people you know may never have heard of the organization. Use your social media platform to raise awareness of the group. In fact, simple gestures like this may be one of the best things you can do for a charity: Studies have shown that the top reason that people join the cause of a charitable organization is that someone asked them to participate.
To use social media in this way, post regularly about the causes that are important to you. If you can share a personal testimony about why this organization is meaningful to you, that will help you readers connect with your message. Then, challenge your social media friends to act on your message by presenting a specific way that they could get involved, such as donating money, following the group’s online page, or providing a needed item. When they choose to participate, be sure to say thank you!
#4 Give Life-saving Blood
For a patient in critical condition, a blood transfusion can mean the difference between life and death. In less than two hours, you can give a blood donation that can help up to three people. If you are eligible for giving blood, you may be able to do so as often as every eight weeks. Although all blood types are needed, donors with type O blood are most in demand.
#5 Volunteer for an Organization
Charitable causes need money, but they also need manpower. You can volunteer on the front lines of a group; for example, weed vegetable beds in a community garden, tutor kids at the community center, or walk dogs at the animal shelter. You can also put your talents to work in a behind-the-scenes role. Organizations may need people to code their websites, perform data entry, or maintain their books.
#6 Send Encouraging Mail
A thoughtful card can make a world of difference for those who feel alone or separated from loved ones. Pick up a pen and jot a note to a deployed sailor or a shut-in senior citizen. If you’d like to involve your children, encourage them to draw a colorful picture that will cheer up a person in need.
#7 Take Advantage of Matching Gifts
If you have only a small amount of money to contribute to a cause, you may be discouraged by the thought that your tiny gift isn’t enough to make a difference. Although groups can use donations both large and small, you can also increase the impact of your contributions through matching gift programs. Your employer may regularly offer such a program. If not, consider making your gifts to a charitable cause at a time when a benevolent donor has pledged to match all contributions.
#8 Use Charitable Platforms for Your Online Shopping
Cash-back websites give you back a portion of the money that you spend when shopping online. Certain cash-back programs help you put that money to good use by providing an interface through which you can easily transfer your earnings to a charitable cause.
Amazon offers their own giving program for shopping done through their website. Sign up for the Amazon Smile program, and a percentage of all of your Amazon purchases will be contributed to the participating organization of your choice.
How do you prefer to give to your favorite organizations? I’m glad that being a good person isn’t contingent on the amount of money I have. Leave a comment with your favorite way to contribute on a budget. Share this article with your friends to encourage their giving spirits.