There is an amazing sense of community, fulfillment and satisfaction that comes with giving to charity. Unfortunately, many would love to give, but do not have a lot of extra income to do so. When things are tight, it is still possible to be charitable without breaking the bank (or even touching it!). Here are some ideas:
1.) Donate blood
The gift of blood donation is 100% free, and there is a constant need for donors. You can donate whole blood every 57 days. There are some restrictions for donating blood based on things like medications taken, travel history, medical conditions, etc. Call or check online with your local blood donation center to find out whether you are eligible to donate. Visit http://www.givelife.org for more information about donating with the American Red Cross near you.
If you have an hour or more to give once a week or twice a month, consider volunteering in your local community. Not sure what you’d like to do or where volunteers are needed? Visit http://www.unitedway.org, enter your zip code, and browse the volunteer postings on your local United Way website. Other options are to contact local nursing homes, hospitals, or libraries to see what volunteer opportunities they have.
One way to free up some space and do some good at the same time is to donate unused items you have lying around the house. This will not only make someone else’ day; it’s often tax deductible too! Things to consider:
Old books can be donated to your local library or literacy center
Cookware, utensils, silverware, etc. can be donated to local shelters or soup kitchens
Non-profit thrift stores take a variety of items in gently used condition
Wrong-sized clothing can be donated to a homeless shelter.
Just about anything you have taking up space in your home is needed by some organization. Get creative and call around – often they’ll even pick up right at your door!
When you’re on a budget, using coupons is just smart, but how can you use them in a charitable way? If you really know your coupons, you know that you can often buy products for next to nothing, and sometimes even get them for free. If the product is not something your family will use, that coupon usually doesn’t get clipped. Clip those coupons, buy those ten cent or “free” items, and donate them! Canned goods are an obvious choice for food banks, and hygiene items are wonderful for donating to shelters and to the military men and women serving overseas. To learn more about sending care packages to soldiers, visit http://www.anysoldier.com.
5.) Grow a Garden Row
Growing a garden is a great inexpensive way to provide your family with nutritious food grown in your own backyard. Consider adding an extra row to your garden in the Spring and donating the extra produce to your local food bank.
6.) Craft for Charity
If you have a hobby like sewing, knitting or crocheting, you can find numerous charities that would love to accept your hand-made items. Visit http://familycrafts.about.com/od/craftingforcharity/Crafting_for_Charity.htm for some great suggestions of organizations looking for donations of handcrafted items.
7.) Be neighborly
Look around where you live for opportunities to be generous in your own neighborhood. Does the single parent next door need their lawn mowed? Maybe the elderly woman next door could use some help getting the trash bin down to the road. The young couple that just had a baby would really appreciate a casserole so they don’t have to make dinner one night. Getting to know your neighbors and offering help is one of the best ways to improve your community, and has instant payback for your efforts in the form of newly forged friendships!
8.) Gifts of Donation
Even on a budget, things come up like birthdays and other gifting holidays. Instead of giving your friend or family member a gift, consider making a charitable donation on that person’s behalf. You can gift donations in any amount to many charitable research organizations and some will send a thank you card to the person you designated as the benefactor. With Heifer International (http://www.heifer.org), you can donate a farm animal to an impoverished family on someone else’ behalf. Also, consider requesting your birthday and holiday gifts be given as donations to your favorite charity.
9.) Twin Change Jars
Put all of your loose change into two change jars on your kitchen counter. Label the first “Saved” and the second “Given”. When you empty out your pockets at night, try to distribute your spare change evenly between the two. Every so often convert the contents into cash at the bank, deposit the “Saved” and donate the “Given” to your favorite charity. You won’t notice you’ve donated a dime, and you’ll build a small but steadily growing savings while you’re at it.
10.) Organize a fundraiser
Pick a charity, or if you know of a local community member in need, and organize a fundraiser for that cause. There are tons of ways to do this, and you can do whatever suits your personality. You can do change jars at local businesses, hold a car wash, ask local business to donate products to charities in the community, have a bake sale, etc. The possibilities are endless, and are only limited by your time, effort and imagination.
So don’t hold off until next year when money might be a little less tight. Don’t deprive others of the numerous ways you can help, and don’t deprive yourself of the satisfaction of knowing you made a difference. Now that you have some ideas about how to be frugal and generous at the same time, get out, give, and play a part in your local and global community.
Written by egmartinez
Find More Charitable Gift Cards ArticlesFiled: Brand New
tags: Budget, Charitable, Ways