Even if you’re low on funds, you can still make a meaningful charitable gift this season.
The familiar sound of a ringing holiday bell reminds us of the many individuals and families in need during the holiday season. You may find yourself in the situation where you want to help, but holiday expenses leave you with little cash to give to charity.
If your desire for charitable giving exceeds your bank account balance, here are several ways you can give back.
1. Clear out your closet
While searching your attic or closet for last year’s holiday decorations, you might uncover clothing, bedding, and small appliances tucked away until your next garage sale. Instead of letting them collect dust, sell these items now. Give the money to your favorite charity. Mobile resale apps like LetGo, Tradesy, or Mercari can help find buyers.
If you’d rather not deal with packing and shipping sold items or you’re uncomfortable meeting with potential buyers in-person, giving your unwanted items directly to charitable organizations is also a great option. For example, Soles4Shoes can use your new and gently used shoe donations to help those in need. You’ll also likely find many thrift stores in your area who use their profits for community good. Some local charities will even pick up your donations at no charge to you. Visit Donation Town to locate a participating charity and schedule a pick-up.
2. Organize a donation drive
To multiply your efforts, organize a donation drive to gather needed items for your charity of choice. Most charitable organizations encourage community-wide involvement and may offer program resources to help promote and organize your drive. Visit your chosen charity’s website to learn how to register to host a community fundraiser.
3. Lend your ear
Hospice volunteers offer immense value without spending a dime. Volunteers can fill the role of companion by spending time learning about the patient’s life and interests. Visiting, reading, or taking a walk together doesn’t sound like much, but it means a lot. Volunteers also might provide respite and support for family members of hospice patients. From doing some shopping to staying with their loved one so they can run an errand, volunteers are a great source of support to family caregivers. Are your interests more aligned to fundraising and administrative work? There’s a need for that, too! To find your best fit, contact a local hospice agency and ask to speak with their volunteer coordinator.
4. Serve food
Food pantry and soup kitchen volunteers do more than cook and serve meals. Volunteers help sort donated canned and boxed goods, inspect fresh vegetables and prepare donations for distribution. They might also lend a hand with kitchen clean up. Perform a Google search by entering “Your City AND Food Bank” to find a nearby location that needs your help.
5. Donate blood
The American Red Cross always needs red blood cells, plasma, and platelet donations. Red blood cells have a storage life of approximately 42 days and platelets only last five days. In less than 90 minutes, you could donate enough blood to save up to three lives. Only 3% of age-eligible people donate blood each year, so your contribution can make a significant difference. Even if your wallet is light, you can save lives. Now, that’s quite a donation!
These are just a few examples of charitable donations that don’t require a credit card or cash payment. Choose one of the above or start asking around about other needs in your community. A little time and concentrated effort can lead to the best gift you give this holiday season.