Frugal Friday – Giving to Charity (Without Giving Money)

Ordinarily, when I write one of these Frugal Friday posts, my major goal is pass along ways for you to save yourself more money, cutting down how much you give to others to get what you want in return.  This week is a little different; we’re going to be talking charities, and while I can’t speak for everyone, I personally would much rather be INCREASING how much I give to good causes.  If you find yourself in the position of giving ten percent, twenty percent, or even more of your income to various charities, all I have to say is more power to you.

But for many of us, money is a bit tight, particularly now, in the face of the current downturn.  We still want to give to charity and help those less fortunate than ourselves, but we’re not that far away from needing to take charity and can’t afford to give (or at least, give as much as we want).  What can we do in those types of circumstances?

Luckily, there are ways to give to charities that don’t involve opening up your wallet.  Here are some of the big ones to get you started:

1. Volunteer: Just about every charity in the country (and I’d imagine, the world) depends to some extent on volunteers.  From making phone calls to building houses, charitable groups have many needs, and the more of those needs that can be met without having to pay a professional, the better.  Particularly if you have a useful skill that the charity can take advantage of, you’ll be doing just as much good, if not more, giving a few hours of your time than you would by giving a few dollars.

2. Give of Yourself: For many charities, the biggest thing that is needed are things like blood, which need to be provided by living people.  (Already, maybe from the occasional undead, but how often do you see them at blood drives?)  The Red Cross is always looking for more blood donors, and you’ll be able to give blood (as I did today), help some people out, and get some free cookies out of the deal, all in one afternoon.

3. Sharing the Love: Getting the word out is one of the biggest challenges facing just about any charitable organization, and passing along the message can be invaluable.  Just be careful how you do so; a mass emailing is more likely to make you look like a spammer (and drop people’s opinions of the organization you support) than gather more volunteers, while a face to face chat with some of your friends and family, when they can see how devoted to the cause you are, can be quite convincing.


These are just a few ways support your favorite charity without having to spend a dime.  If you need even more ways, check out this TopTenz post (and get a heaping helping of odd videos as a free bonus).

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