You don’t have to give money to support those in need



If you’re operating on a tight budget, you might feel like you have nothing to offer your favorite charities. That monthly donation is certainly off the table. However, in many cases, nonprofits need other help more than money—perhaps volunteers, supplies, or someone with expertise in a certain field. So even if you don’t have any dough to spare, you can still help the people in need in your community. Here are a few ways to get started.

  • Donate stuff. Okay, so maybe you don’t have an entire paycheck to spare, but you probably do have a dress with the tags still on it or a pair of sneakers that you only wore once. In lieu of cash donations, these make the perfect gift for your local thrift store or a charity organization that puts clothing into the hands of those in need. Keep an eye out for clothing drives where you can unload those gently used jackets; contribute your business casual apparel to an organization like Dress for Success; or even dust off your old prom dress (it’s probably back in style by now) and had it over to a local charity that gifts them to current promgoers.
  • Give your time. Plenty of people are willing to donate money, but time is often a more precious commodity. If you can’t spare bucks, but you have a weekend free, consider volunteering for your favorite local charity. Nonprofits are almost always looking for volunteers, whether for an upcoming fundraising event or simply to get some filing done in their corporate office. If you don’t already have a nonprofit in mind, check websites like for volunteering opportunities.
  • Share skills. Maybe you’re an electrician by trade or a shrewd businessperson; nonprofits need both. Take your professional skill set and apply it to volunteer work. This could mean helping a charity revamp its website with your superior graphic design skills or launching a new social media marketing campaign for a new branch of a thrift store with your college education backing you. Even if you can’t find a volunteer opportunity online that caters specifically to your talents, you could always call one of your city’s nonprofit organizations and ask if they could use you (or if they know someone else who could).
  • Give blood. As long as you can handle needles, giving blood is a no-brainer. You’ve got an unlimited supply, after all, and donating a small portion of it could mean the difference between life and death for someone on the operating table. Donating blood is quick and easy; you can do it on your lunch break. If you’re feeling extra philanthropic, you can even arrange a blood drive at your place of work.
  • Click. Advertisers and big corporations will pay for good publicity, which is why many of them will donate on your behalf if you simply visit certain websites.The Huffington Post has compiled a solid list of websites that require little more than your attention in order to donate to worthy causes.Free Rice, for instance, donates 20 grains of rice to a developing country every time you answer a vocabulary question correctly.