Ways to Donate to Charity on the Cheap
Giving blood, used items, and time need not strain your budget
When your own budget is tight, helping others is probably the last priority on your to-do list. But charities need more help than ever because there are more people in need and because consumers tend to reduce their own giving by about 2.7 percent during long recessions, according to the Center on Philanthropy at
Besides, being charitable doesn't necessarily meaning forking over cash. It also includes volunteer work, blood donation, and even signing up to be an organ donor. Here are eight ways to donate to charity -- without spending more money than you already are.
Develop a plan.
Many of us give haphazardly throughout the year, donating
Instead, Endlich recommends that people ask themselves what one or two things matter most to them and what will affect others most. Inspiration can come from almost anywhere, including movies, a conversation with friends, or a magazine article. When you give to those priorities, you won't spend any more money than you already did throughout the year -- it will just be in a way that better reflects your values.
Learn everything you can about your chosen cause.
Give of yourself -- literally.
Volunteering at a hospital, making dinner for a sick person, or working in a soup kitchen all are ways to donate your resources, and they don't cost much. To make it more fun -- and even more affordable -- sign up with a friend.
Make sure your money is being used wisely.
If you do decide to donate money, you want to be sure it's being spent wisely. One helpful site is Charity Navigator. Just type in the name of the organization and see what pops up.
Clean out your closet.
Many nonprofits and shelters are constantly looking for used books, clothes, CDs, and other items. Spending a few hours cleaning out your house could result in several bags of goodies -- and you'll have a cleaner house.
Find power in numbers.
"You end up learning about more organizations than you would on your own and gain from the collective knowledge of others," Philp explains. Groups such as Women Moving Millions and local giving circles help people get connected.
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Personal Finance - Ways to Donate to Charity on the Cheap
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