How to Give Back While on a Budget: Four Charitable Giving Tips

The words Give Back hanging on chain

When your finances are tight, it can be hard to fit charitable giving into your budget. However, it’s important to remember that giving back to charity doesn’t always mean donating money. There are plenty of ways to do good and support causes that are near and dear to your heart but don’t involve breaking the bank.

Donate your stuff

Cleaning up your attic, basement, or even the hall closet can yield items that you can donate to someone in need. While gathering things to donate, make sure each item is in good condition. Check clothing for stains and tears, test electronics and appliances to make sure they work properly, and/or make sure you have all the pieces or parts to kids toys and games. If you’re planning to donate items from your pantry, make sure the expiration dates haven’t passed or aren’t immediately upcoming.

When donating items to charity, be sure to get a receipt listing each item. When tax time rolls around, you can request a tax deduction for your charitable donations, but you will need receipts to prove your claim.

Shop at the right places

In the age of corporate social responsibility, many businesses now donate a portion of proceeds to charities. For example, AmazonSmile will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to a charitable organization of your choice. Websites like Goodshop have a portal of participating stores, like Nike and Crate & Barrel, and contributes an average of 3 to 4% of your purchase to the charity you choose. Whole Foods gives you the option to donate your five-cent reusable bag credits to a local organization. Do a search or check with the places you shop at regularly to see if they offer any opportunities to donate as part of your purchase.

Donate your time

If you have the time but not the money, consider organizing a drive to gather donations for a non-profit. Food drives can be organized at your work, your child’s school, or various places within in your neighborhood. You can also raise funds for charity through social media, like donating your birthday via Facebook or participating in a sponsored walk. Of course, you can always volunteer a few hours of your time to local organizations as well, whether that’s helping at an event or just cleaning up around the facility.

Bank with the right provider

Have you heard of a charitable checking account? It’s an account that donates your money to a specific cause for every dollar you spend or any interest you earn. For example, Radius Bank teamed up with March of Dimes to provide “Superhero Checking.” Through this account, 1.00% of your total debit card purchases each month will be donated and all interest you earn will be matched by Radius Bank and donated to March of Dimes. That way, part of the money you’d be spending anyway will be donated and make a difference to those in need.