Four Affordable Ways to Support Charity

November 1, 2011 in Giving

It’s hard to believe how fast the year has gone by!  As we get closer to the holidays many of us will start making decisions about giving to charity.  Even small donations can make a big difference to nonprofit organizations, but there are ways to give back that don’t require you to make a financial contribution.

Coupon for a Cause

Hunger is an issue that affects millions of people in our country.  Sadly, 1 in 6 people don’t know where their next meal will come from.  Buy some things that could be useful to your local food bank during your trips to grocery and drug stores.  Non-food items like toothpaste and shampoo are also in high demand at food banks and easy to get for free when you use coupons effectively.  Check out the Coupon Mom’s Cut Out Hunger program to learn about couponing for food banks.  A great thing about her website is that it shows which deals would make good charitable donations.

Give Gifts that Give Back

Think about giving gifts that also benefit charity.  Several charities have gift catalogs that allow you to pick a gift that will benefit someone in need.  I often buy “gifts” like blankets and mosquito nets for my friends from the Samaritan’s Purse catalog.  The charities will usually send an email or card to the recipient letting them know about the gift.

Volunteer Your Time in Slower Months

The holiday season is a popular time for volunteers.  We’re often feeling extra generous and get the warm fuzzies from giving back to our communities during the holidays.   Also think about contributing your time to an organization during times of the year when volunteers aren’t so plentiful.   I’ve been working in the nonprofit sector for the past 5 years and can’t say enough about how great it is to have reliable volunteers who donate their time on a regular basis.  To find volunteer opportunities, visit VolunteerMatch or HandsOn Network.

Donate Clothes You Don’t Wear and Stuff You Don’t Use Anymore

When you’re changing out your closet for the season, make a point of putting things aside to donate to charity.  Warm jackets, blankets, scarves and gloves are especially useful donations during the winter months.  Furniture and appliances can be useful to a lot of nonprofits too.  The Salvation Army and Goodwill are the first places most people think of donating, but think about giving to smaller, locally-based charities too.   Look into homeless shelters, foster care organizations, domestic violence safe houses and furniture banks in your area that accept donations.

Do you plan to give to charity this year?

Photo: sxc.hu

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