As English author John Bunyan once said, “You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” The concept of doing something for someone who cannot repay you goes by a variety of different names. Some call it generosity, others say goodwill and some might call it philanthropy. But one of the most popular names for giving without compensation is simply charity.
Charity plays a valuable role in our everyday lives. It encourages us to give to others who are less fortunate than ourselves, without any expectation to receive something back. However, many people believe charity only means donating money. But there’s much more to it than money! In fact, if you strive to live an altruistic lifestyle, there are a variety of different ways to be more charitable without spending money. Here are some ideas to try.
First, let’s start with something all of us have: blood. If you want to save money and give at the same time, consider donating blood to a local or national bank in your area. According to the Red Cross, one single blood donation could potentially save up to three lives. This means that just an hour of your time and a small discomfort can make a huge impact for a multitude of people. Check to see if you qualify to give blood and find a donation center near you.
Contribute your skills.
Your skills can also make a huge difference for a charity you care about. If you have a special skill, such as writing, sewing or photography, consider offering your services pro bono to a nonprofit organization you care about. Many local and national charities need skills in a variety of specialized areas, but don’t have the funds to hire a professional. You can help meet this need by giving to charity without worrying about money.
Give gently-used items.
Of course, one way to give to charity without spending money is to give stuff you already have. Many of us have way more stuff than we actually need, so why not help others out by donating your gently-used items? Sort through your clothes, shoes, furniture, toys and even cars to see what you don’t need and consider how giving it to charity could influence someone’s life.
Use a charity credit card.
Another simple way to give to charity without spending money is by using a charity credit card. Many credit card companies offer charity cards, which donate the rewards you earn to an organization of your choice. This means you can continue to buy items you already use, and then give the reward away to those in need, at no extra expense.
In the age of corporate social responsibility, many businesses—local, national and international—offer to donate part of their proceeds to charities. This means that simply by buying intentionally, you can help make an impact, without spending extra money. For instance, AmazonSmile will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to the nonprofit organization of your choice. Or, TOMS uses the one-for-one model. When you buy a pair of TOMS, another pair is donated to a person in need.
Volunteer your time.
And of course, if you want to make a charitable donation, but don’t have the extra money to give away, you can always get involved through volunteering. Volunteers play a valuable role for nonprofit organizations, by meeting needs and freeing up time, space and finances for other areas. If you want to get involved with a charity, consider how you can volunteer your time to have an impact.
Charity prompts us to make important contributions to our community, but these donations don’t always have to be financial. If you want to give back without spending money, consider these charitable options. Then, get involved and see how you can make a difference.