1. Become a virtual volunteer: Be of service, without even leaving home. Many organizations are happy to have one-time help on projects that involve graphic design, proofreading, or gathering research.
2. Help raise awareness on social media: It only takes a quick click to like or share news about an organization that’s doing great things for your community. Also, some companies make small donations to selected charities every time you follow them on a social media platform. Easy.
3. Donate your shopping bargains: You can actually pick up lots of store items — from boxes of tea to bottles of shampoo — for free. How? By combining great sale prices with manufacturers’ coupons, known as “coupon matchups.” Sites like The Krazy Coupon Lady and Coupon Mom help you spot freebie deals at your local stores. Donate nonperishable food items to local food banks. Shelters and churches love getting personal-care donations like shampoo and toothpaste. Many of the items are used to create personal hygiene kits for homeless individuals.
4. Shop with philanthropically minded retailers: Consider buying items you need from companies that’ll give a portion of the sale to charity. For instance, Patagonia donates 1% of its sales to environmental organizations. TOMS shoes “One For One” program donates shoes, eye care, safe water, and more to people in need. Through its “Buy a Pair, Give a Pair” program, eyewear company Warby Parker donates money for glasses to nonprofit partners.
5. Gift your credit card rewards: Many credit card companies let you donate your frequent-flyer miles or reward points to a charity. Keep in mind these rewards may not be tax-deductible as donations; check with your tax professional. If you can donate your points online, your card issuer may let you choose from a group of approved charities. If your card issuer doesn’t allow direct donations or doesn’t list your favorite charity, just redeem the reward points to your account. Once you collect the award, donate an equal amount to your favorite charity.
Contributing to the greater good doesn’t have to mean cleaning out your wallet. There are endless ways to help out that just require a little time, thought, and effort.