We all get it. You are a generous person and you like to help people...but money is tight! It can be hard to give back when you are in between jobs, flat out broke or on a fixed income. With the added stress of Christmas it seems impossible. Charity plays such a valuable role in people's lives but donating cash shouldn't put a strain on your financial situation.
Not having a lot of cash does not mean you can’t give back this holiday season. You can reach the goals you have for yourself by balancing philanthropy with your personal money philosophy. There are dozens of ways that you can give back to your community that does not require a dime and still will bring cheer. From giving up your time to donating old goods, there are many ways you can feel good about giving back without breaking the bank.
Share your talents.
Are you a really good knitter or quilter? Then you would be a great help to programs like Project Linus that creates new, handmade, washable blankets to ill children. If that isn’t your thing, maybe you are someone who is really great with kids and can offer babysitting services or become a tutor for those who can’t afford one. If you are skilled in art, music, or other creative endeavors you can be an asset at afterschool programs or senior centers. No matter what your talents are, there is a way to use them for good. Providing a gift of service is a great way to give back without having to use any cash, but instead volunteering your time and knowledge. Which in some cases is worth much, much more!
We all know people that are swamped with deep problems, but are not sure how to help them because we do not want to overstep boundaries, do not have the resources, or the like. When all else seems hopeless, one thing people can do more is turn to prayer. Simply lifting up someone’s name to God shows that you are thinking about them and their situation, even if you cannot help financially. Prayer for others shows that you are saying to the world that you will selflessly help to share their burdens and provide them with strength. God answers when we pray for others in many ways we do not expect. We might not get the answer we want right away, but it is worth asking the Lord for guidance.
Volunteer your time.
You may not have cash to give to your favorite charities, but giving your time is just as precious. There are many organizations in dire need of support. You can pick which organization best aligns with your values, and serves a cause that is close to you heart. Some projects like Big Brothers/Big Sisters require a big time commitment, but there are also short one hour opportunities you can jump on like cleaning a highway or serving at a veteran’s hospital. Through volunteer hours, you will learn more about the people in your community and the problems our world faces. It will also give you a sense of accomplishment and humility.
Being healthy is a privilege that many of us take for granted. If you want to save money and give at the same time, consider donating blood to a local or national bank in your area. According to the Red Cross, one single blood donation could potentially save up to three lives. This means that just an hour of your time and a small discomfort can make a huge impact for a multitude of people. This is something you really should consider doing no matter what blood type you have. If needles are not your thing, also consider donating your long hair to a cancer patient or breast milk to a child in need. Bone marrow, plasma, and more are also great contributions if you are able to give more.
If your household full of old items you no longer need but are in good condition? Take a day to go through all your junk and set aside a pile specifically for the donation center. You can give away everything from old linens to books and magazines. Old cell phones, computers and other technological items are also readily accepted at most centers. If you have furniture to give, or another big item like a car, many donation organizations will offer to come pick it up for free. They will get it into the hands of someone who is in need and can’t afford the items on their own. Additionally, consider saving any materials you might regularly throw away like egg cartons. These are great to donate to teachers for classroom projects or farmers, for example.
Offer pro bono work.
You do not have to be a lawyer or doctor to offer up your services to someone in need. While those professions are certainly great, there are all types of work that people need. Teachers regularly provide extra tutoring hours outside of their typical duties to help struggling students, for example. Take a look at your business and see how it could be used to serve others. If you are great at marketing, for example, you could offer free advice to a small business. If you work in a restaurant, you could see if you could donate food to a local homeless shelter. Think outside of the box and look into ways your corporation can give back.
Show up for others.
The holidays can be a challenging time of year for many. You may have a friend that struggles because they have lost someone dear to them, or a colleague that is in recovery and needs extra sober support. Whatever it is, the holiday season can be a time of sorrow rather than fun. Showing up for others when they need you the most is one of the most impactful ways you can give back. We all know what it feels like to have a friend provide you with love, comfort, and kindness when you felt you were at your worst. Simply calling the person you care about and saying hello could go a long way.
If you are not in a position to donate money, there are still ways you can give back to your community. Donating your time, resources, and talents are great ways to help those that are most in need. Christmas is about giving back and celebrating others, so do not let your financial situation hold you back.