“Charity isn’t about pity, it’s about love.” – Mother Teresa
If you’re like the majority of Millennials, you’re charitable AF (at heart) but so deep in student debt that the very idea of “donating money” sends chills down your spine:
I’d love to support (insert cause)…but Sallie Mae…
I want to make a positive difference in the world….but Sallie Mae…
I really want to help my community…but Sallie Mae…
I get it. I’m right there with you. I used to think, “I’ll donate to charity once I’m in a better financial situation.” But you know what? People in need can’t wait until tomorrow, next week or next year, and regardless of your financial situation, you can start helping them now!
Here are 6 ways you can be charitable WITHOUT donating money that will make a positive impact on the world and your bank account:
1. Clean Out Your Hoard
It might be spring in season, but a lot of us live like hoarders preparing our underground bunkers for eternal winter:
We hang on to clothes that are too small, accessories we no longer use and George Forman grills we saw on an infomercial once in 2002 and never opened (okay, so maybe this one is just me). The point? We keep things we no longer need when there are people in the world who would LOVE to have our forgotten treasures and actually do NEED them.
By donating unused and unneeded clothing and household items, you’ll be helping others without breaking the bank. And the best part? (Aside from the fact that you’ll be helping people in need). Your donations are a tax write off!
Ready to clean house, help people and reap the tax-break reward? Start by sifting through your belongings and asking yourself these questions:
- When was the last time I used/wore this?
- How often do I use/wear this?
- Before this exercise did I even REMEMBER I owned this?
If you answered: “It’s been years”, “not often” and “no” then it’s safe to assume you can place those items into your donation pile(s). Once you’ve finished sorting through your stuff, select a local church or donation center to drop your bags off.
2. Make People Smile with Amazon Smile
More than 75 percent of Americans regularly shop on Amazon (no judgement here — I buy EVERYTHING including my toilet paper from Amazon!) so if you live in America, chances are you’re one of them. By simply using this Amazon Smile link 0.5 percent of all of your purchases will be donated to the charity of your choice.
To date Amazon Smile has raised
a number I can’t even pronounce $80,134,317.33 for charities and you can take part in the giving simply by switching the link you use to shop!
Pro-tip: Bookmark the Amazon Smile link or save it as your homepage, otherwise you might forget to navigate to it and then your purchases won’t count toward your selected charity.
3. Purchase From One-for-One Brands
Need a new pair of shoes? A summer bag? Or a gift for someone? Shop at a one-for-one company that matches your purchase by donating something (such as shoes, food or money) to someone in need.
Here’s a list of reputable companies that are one-for-one:
4. Volunteer Your Time
If you’re not in the market to purchase new things, and/or aren’t a big fan of Amazon, there are still plenty of ways you can be charitable without donating money. A great way to do this is by finding a local community center, school or soup kitchen that’s in need of volunteers, and setting aside some time to serve the people in your community.
Groom abandoned animals. Serve good. Help people craft their resumes. Tutor kids after school. There are a plethora of volunteer opportunities available and whether you do it an hour a month, or several times a week you will be making a positive different in your community and the world!
Also, time is the most valuable gift you could ever give anyone (it’s none renewable, ya know?) so doing volunteer work is (in my opinion) one of the most selfless, valuable things you can do!
5. Get Your Beachbody Ready For A Cause
Summer is around the corner so why not get your beachbody on track while raising money for charity?
By running, walking, biking, swimming etc. for a cause, you’ll be raising money for a good cause AND becoming healthier and more fit in the process. What’s not to love? And the best part? It won’t cost you anything…except maybe a few pounds.
6. Do Something Nice For Someone Just Because
Have you ever had one of those days where nothing seemed to be going right, and then ONE random person did something nice for you (like holding open the door, picking up something you dropped, or offering you a tissue) and your entire day/mood changed?
I know I have, and it’s in those humbling moments we really feel and know what it is to be human, and have a human connection.
Here’s the thing — we all have bad days, days where we need the love, kindness and support of other people, even strangers. And charity is all about kindness. So even if you disregard everything else on this list but please do everything on this list, do this: As often as you can, do something nice for someone else just because.
Tell your parents you love them. Write someone a nice note unexpectedly. Give someone a compliment. Be kind to people. Smile. Say hello.
It only takes one small act of kindness to change someone’s day or life, so go out there and be kind.
Above all, remember if you’re able to read this article then you’re in a better position than many people in our world.
As you can see from these 6 suggestions, it doesn’t take money or a lot of effort to be charitable AF — it just takes heart, and you my friend have heart — so what are you waiting for? The world needs you!