I feel horrible when I’m at the store and there’s a charity outside asking if I want to donate to their cause but I can’t afford to donate. It’s absolutely heartbreaking; I’m standing there after saying “no,” and I see the look in their eyes. Then, I feel ashamed and have to avoid them because I just don’t have the money.
I always wish I could do more. If only I had tons of extra money, less bills and didn’t need groceries, I’d be giving my favorite charities some serious bankroll! Unfortunately, that’s just not how life works.
Even though I still feel bad when I can’t spare some extra money to a charity in need, I’ve gotten better at finding ways to give back to them without giving money. If you’re stuck in the same situation, try out some of these really easy ways to help out your favorite nonprofits.
Donate Your Time
Giving up some of your free time is one of the best ways to give without giving actual money. Most nonprofits need all the help they can get to spread their message and help their cause. You might think that your favorite charity has people volunteering all of their free time left and right, but that’s far from the truth.
Less than 20% of people volunteered in 2015, according to Volunteering in America. Should we expect every single person to do some volunteer work? No, but we can do better than only having one-fifth of the population donate their time to those in need. It’s hard for churches and nonprofits to find help for their events and services that benefit the community. That’s one of the main reasons many communities struggle with serious problems like rising crime rates, homelessness and illiteracy.
Instead of binge-watching a show the entire weekend, try taking an hour of your time and using it to help a nonprofit in your area. An extra pair of hands or an extra set of wheels can make an event even more successful and stress-free—and you don’t outright spend money.
Can’t spare an hour? The next time you find yourself browsing Facebook, give your charity’s post a like and share—that might help them get some extra donations and maybe even reach some people in need of their services.
Give Your Used Items
You know that new kitchen gadget you just had to have for that new diet you were starting? You know, the one you got last year that you used for about a week and then put back in your closet? Don’t worry, I’m not judging; I do it all the time. There are lots of less-fortunate people who would love to put your old items to use.
If you have old clothes, appliances or knick-knacks that are taking up too much space, consider donating them to your local domestic abuse center or thrift store. This can help people out tremendously when they don’t have anywhere else to turn to.
Did you know that you can also donate old, used vehicles, too? There are lots of charitable organizations that will take your old set of wheels, fix it up and give it to those in need. By donating your old vehicle, you can help families get to work, pick up groceries and get children to after school events like band and tutoring that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to go. Charities with large local impacts, like St. Vincent de Paul or Salvation Army, are a great place to send those vehicles that are taking up space in your yard.
Volunteer Your Skills
If you don’t have physical items to give, try giving the gift of you. Everyone has a specific skill that can be put to use for charitable causes. If you’re a musician, offer your talents for charity events or offer free classes through a nonprofit focused on music. For you creative types, try offering your virtual skills to nonprofits in need! Offer to create graphics and tweak some of their existing designs, which will save them some serious money that they can use for those in need!
Let’s say you’re more of an outdoorsy type with a knack for building fires, hunting and fishing. Local scout troops would love to have you talk with the youth about safety or skill training. Teaching skills can be even more useful than actual money, so it’s always a great idea to look into this type of giving back.
There are plenty of ways for you to give back without giving money, and these are some of the ways I’ve found to give back. What are some ways you like to give to charities? Let us know in the comments!