While cash donations are often still the best way you can help your favorite charities, there are other ways you can give back without reaching for your pocketbook. In fact, sometimes money isn’t the answer when it comes to the needs of charitable organizations. Below we look at six ways to be charitable that don’t involve money, and to be sure you keep reading, we’ve saved the best for last.
- Volunteer Your Time
Pretty much every charity needs volunteers, so this shouldn’t be a hard one for anyone to undertake. From shelters to schools, hospices and more, there are a huge range of community and charitable organizations that need help. Whether it’s lending a hand in a soup kitchen to building houses for the poor or utilizing more specific skills that you’ve built in your professional life, there are many ways you can volunteer your time. Get started by searching online or heading down to your local charity centers.
- Give Blood
Donating blood is something that most healthy adults can do. All it takes is setting up an appointment or finding out where your next local blood drive will be, filling in a form and getting your blood drawn. You can also donate platelets which are needed for patients with blood disorders and those undergoing organ transplants or chemotherapy. You can donate blood every 3-4 months and platelets up to 15 times a year.
Just don’t wait until a catastrophe to do so. Many people don’t think of donating blood until a disaster strikes, which usually results in so much blood being donated that the blood banks actually can’t use it all (blood only has a shelf-life of 42 days) and they end up having to toss it, only to be facing a shortage again a month or two later. Instead, get into the habit of donating regularly or heeding the call when the blood bank is on short supply.
- Put Your Computer To Work
Now you can utilize your computer’s idle time and the time you spend online helping out charities in need. One of the easiest ways is to utilize search engine extensions that allow charities to collect ad revenue from banner ads or even a percentage donation on items you buy online. This is a good article to get you started: https://mashable.com/2014/11/04/chrome-extensions-charity/#EgF_6uEyQZqN
Other ways charities may benefit from your online activities include playing educational games like www.freerice.com where 10 grains of rice are donated to the UN World Food Program for each correctly answered question, or by simply clicking a button on a website via sites like www.greatergood.com. These sites work by selling advertising space, and each game played or button click generates funds from the advertising sponsors.
You can also harness the down time on your computer for good via projects like www.worldcommunitygrid. As a network volunteer, you donate unused computing power on your device to help scientists research and solve the world’s biggest medical and environmental problems.
Become An Organ Donor
Donating your organs could be one of the most valuable contributions you ever make. Even though none of us need our organs after we die, not nearly enough of us are donating them. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, 95% of Americans support organ donation, however, statistics from Donate Life America show that only 56% of Americans are registered organ donors. With 20 people dying every day waiting for an organ transplant, more registered organ donors are desperately needed.
Registration is easy. Simply register with your state’s Organ Donor Registry and select yes to organ donation on your driver’s license. It’s also a good idea to keep your donor card (if available) in your wallet and make sure your family is aware of your wishes.
- Donate Goods
Just because you can’t donate money, doesn’t mean you don’t have anything of value to give. Be it furniture, your old phone or other household items in good working condition that are no longer needed, there are a number of charities that can benefit from your unwanted goods. Just make the items you donate are actually wanted by the charity first. The worst thing you can do is drop off a bunch of worthless items that they can’t use: charities are not your personal junk collection service.
- Raise A Service Dog Puppy
Evil villains aside, who wouldn’t want to raise an adorable puppy? Sure, it can be hard work training a dog, and you have to give the puppy back when it’s grown, but you get to enjoy all the fun of raising a pup without the long term commitment. Costs vary by organization with some covering all of the puppy’s living and medical costs, while others ask you to foot the bills. Aside from day-to-day caring for your pup, you’ll also need to provide socialization opportunities and basic obedience training, but there’s no formal dog training required – anyone who passes the checks can do it. Plus, if you’re a good pup raiser, you can do it as many times as you like. That means puppies forever!
There you have six ways of giving back regardless of your financial situation, but there are many other personal ways you can help out in your community that don’t even require involvement with an organization, from checking in on an elderly neighbor, picking up trash in your neighborhood or offering to babysit for an overworked friend. And that’s just for starters!