How to be Charitable on a Budget

In these times of financial hardship charitable donations have been cut out of many family and personal budgets. That does not mean, however, that you have to give up being charitable. You can still make a valuable contribution to society.

* Giving money to charity on a tight budget

Although you may not be able to budget a lot of money for charity, there are ways to scrape a few dollars together. One way is to empty out your leftover pocket change into a jar each evening. You will not really miss these small amounts, but they will make a difference when you give them to a worthy cause.

Another way is to dedicate budget savings to charity. For example, if you have budgeted $100.00 for your power bill, but have to pay only $95.00, you can allot the difference to your favorite cause. You may think that such small amounts do not make a difference, but every little bit helps. Just remember the March of Dimes. As of July 2009, there were over 307 million people living in the USA. Imagine that half of these people gave one single dime to their favorite charity. A whopping 15.35 million dollars would have been donated.

* Giving personal effects and food

Most of us have clothes we have outgrown or do not wear anymore. Organizations, such as Good Will or The Salvation Army, will gladly accept these, even if they are not in perfect condition. The same is true of furniture, appliances, and cars. The American Red Cross is often in need of clothing and blankets for disaster victims.

Food banks are always in need of non-perishable foods and personal hygiene items. You can buy a few additional cans or boxes of sale items to give away, or just clean out your cupboards at the end of the month.

* Giving time

Volunteering is a very rewarding way to give to charity. It will not cost you much and will provide you with invaluable experience. There are opportunities for virtually anyone who wants to help.

Schools are always looking for room moms, teacher’s helpers, and administrative support. This is also an excellent way to keep informed of what goes on in the schools if you have children in the system.

Organizations like Meals on Wheels are looking for meal preparers and deliverers, and soup kitchens will be glad to have you help to prepare and serve meals.

Many organizations concerned with health issues need your help. Whether your concerns are with diabetes, cancer, AIDS, or any other disease, there will be an organization to support sufferers and researchers.

Talk to your clergyperson to find out how you can help in your congregation. He or she will know where the need is greatest and put your abilities to good use.

If animals are your passion, you can contact local shelters or the ASPCA for opportunities to work with abandoned or abused animals.

Environmental causes will appreciate your efforts in cleaning up parks, roadsides, beaches, and wilderness areas. You can join an official group or get together with some of your friends and do your own thing.

* Giving experience

Virtually any kind of professional training can be used to help nonprofit organizations. Especially medical and legal professionals are always needed in advisory capacities or as instructors. This does not have to take up much of your time, but is still very valuable to the recipients of your services.

Even if you cannot do any of these things, you can still be charitable, just by being kind to your fellow human beings. Lend a helping hand when you see someone in need of assistance Provide an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on in times of adversity. Be a considerate person.