Free and Simple Ways To Do Good

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We’ve all gotten those solicitations. Whether it is a good friend’s fundraising event for breast cancer, you uncle’s upcoming half marathon supporting a child with pediatric AIDS, or just a homeless man begging for change. People are always asking for money. With high pressure from friends and tight budgets abound, even the smallest monetary donation can break the bank. The best thing you can do is express that a donation is simply beyond your means. There are plenty of ways that you can do good in your community without spending a dime.

1. Volunteer. It’s hard to say no to a friend who is asking for a $100 dollar donation to support their charity organization. If you can’t spend the money, ask if there is any other way you can help. Donating your time can mean just as much as money. If you’d like to volunteer, but don’t have specific organization in mind, spend a Saturday volunteering at your local food bank or at your neighborhood children’s hospital. There are plenty opportunities in every community.

2. Donate In-Kind. One man’s trash is truly another man’s treasure. Clean out your closet or de-clutter your home and find the things that you simple are not using anymore. Donate your old clothes to local good will. If you don’t have the time or the resources to drop off your donation, there are plenty of services that will pick up your donation right from your home. This is nice especially if you are making larger donations like furniture. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box a bit and donate much larger items such as vehicles. It may not seem like much to you, but if you donate your boat or car, you could end up aiding an excellent cause such as cancer research or feeding the hungry. Larger donations can be taken care of online, so there is nothing stopping you from going over your options. With a few clicks and keystrokes, you could be on your way to helping the less fortunate while freeing up space in your garage.

3. Budget. Create a monthly budget for unexpected costs. If you have money still in the budget at the end of the month, donate it to your cause of choice. As an added benefit, you might be able to get a tax deduction. In order to receive this deduction all donations must be monetary, you must have an itemized list of donations from a qualified tax-exempt organization, and you MUST have all records of the donation on file.

4. Fundraise. So you don’t have the money to donate, but you know some people who do. Reach out to a few of your connections on behalf of an organization. Market their cause on your social networks. It can be as simple as forwarding a donation request email to ten of your friends. You can do you part by extending your hand and raising more money than you would even donate in the first place.

5. Smile. Never underestimate the power of a smile. A good attitude can go a long way. It can even be infectious. It’s hard to believe, but your kindness could make or break somebody else’s day. Not only will this simple act help others, it might just help you! Some studies show that smiling can even affect your customers in business, your telephone communication and, if you work in the service industry, it can even increase the amount of tips you receive!

There are plenty of ways you can do your part without spending a dime. Next time you feel pressure from friends and family to shell out some cash, offer to help in other ways. For an added bonus and extra “feel-good” points say it with a smile!

Do you have any other tips on how to do your part in the world without spending an arm and a leg?

Author Bio: Kate Frankenberg is a passionately curious writer, DePauw University graduate, and digital marketing professional. By day you can find Kate marketing all things MyCabbage, a simple way to keep all your daily deals, gift cards and coupons in one place and share with your friends so you can plan something together. By night you can find her working as a volunteer Marketing Chair for the Junior Council of Lurie Children’s Hospital and writing for her website, a blog about Chicago startups, nonprofits, and outstanding individuals.