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More often than not, when your family, friends or coworkers discuss charitable giving, the implication of a monetary donation is there. When you mention philanthropy or local charities, some will bow out of the conversation, letting the idea of philanthropic giving fall by the wayside as murmurs of “I can’t give, I don’t have the money” fill the air. And this couldn’t be further from the truth.
This isn’t to imply that your friends and family do in fact have sufficient money to begin lavishly giving. But when philanthropy comes up money isn’t always the central focus, an idea that may seem foreign to some. The idea that all charitable donations and corporate philanthropy come at the expense of your wallet is misaligned to say the least. Celebrities and organizations make headlines day in and day out for making large monetary donations to charities, but that doesn’t scratch the surface of what philanthropy represents as a whole.
If you scour the web, even just briefly, you’ll find stories and statistics surrounding money donations and grant percentages. Many charities, unfortunately, only donate a small portion of their proceeds towards the actual cause–particularly those affiliated with celebrities. Doing your homework helps, but sticking to the “giving money not time” mantra severely narrows the breadth of opportunities.
Donating blood is a year-round philanthropic good that not only helps people all over the globe, it quite literally saves lives. Although it’s one of the more well-known ways of helping out those in need, not everyone is a huge fan of needles, and therefore balks at the chance to donate blood. If you can’t (or won’t) give blood, volunteer at one of the Red Cross’s many, many blood drives.
One of the most valuable assets that anyone can donate is time. Volunteering at a soup kitchen to help feed the homeless and needy is a fantastic means of giving. Sometimes, immersing yourself into the situations that those whom you’re helping can shed light on the needs of people and allow you to see them as individuals instead of groups.
Organizations like Habitat for Humanity present another real-life learning and growing experience while giving back to your community. Other charitable causes that don’t cost a dime to help can be found by searching Google for volunteer opportunities in your area, or by using Volunteermatch.
If you’re short on time and money, you’re still not out of options. True philanthropy knows no bounds when it comes to helping. Just about everyone has a closet, bin or chest somewhere that’s stuffed full of old, ill-fitting or unused clothes. Instead of stowing them away out of sight and out of mind, consider giving them to those in need. A portion of the money that millions of people goes towards feeding and clothing the needy, so why not cut out the middle man?
Donating old clothes takes very little time; you can sort your old garments while watching a movie or listening to music one evening. Locating a clothing drop off bin is simple, as clothing charities are fairly common across the country. Using PlanetAid can help locate one near you.