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A well-lived life is one that is not selfish. Yes, we have to focus on ourselves much of the time, especially as we try to stay afloat in these tough financial times. However, there is a satisfaction that we get from helping others that simply can’t be obtained in any other way. We are an interconnected community and somewhere deep inside we know that we have to help others to be content in our own lives. The hard part is figuring out how to give to others without compromising the quality of our own lives. The trick is to find free ways to give to charity so that you can assist others in your community without ruining your own family’s budget.
Here are ten free ways that you can give to charity:
1. Donate blood. Most people are eligible to give blood and this is a donation that you can make approximately every four months. Your donation doesn’t cost you anything, takes up very little of your time and can literally save someone’s life. Your blood may go to help replace blood that is lost in an emergency such as an accident or a problematic childbirth. Alternatively it may go to replace the blood for someone who suffers from untreatable anaemia. Either way your gift will undeniably be appreciated. Learn more about giving blood in the UK.
2. Give an organ to someone who needs it. If you really want to get serious about giving of your body to someone in need then you can donate certain organs. For example, if you know someone who is in need of a kidney transplant then that is something that you can offer as a live donor if you are a match. Typically, of course, this is a charity action that you would only take for a family member or close friend but it’s certainly an amazing gift to give to anyone!
3. Donate your used clothing. Not all of us wants to give quite so much that we are willing to give up body parts for donation. All of us, however, have old clothing that we don’t need anymore and that someone else could really benefit from. There are countless places where you can donate your used clothing. For example, you can donate to the British Red Cross and they will redistribute that clothing to vulnerable people without adequate clothing of their own.
4. Give away your car. If you are interested in donating something a bit more substantial than clothing but not quite as serious as a kidney then a nice happy medium is to donate your used car. Giving up your car (even a family’s second car) can actually save you a substantial amount of money so it’s a good financial move for you to make if you’re willing to try it. And of course it’s a great donation to give to someone else. Give a Car and Oxfam both accept donations of used cars in the UK.
5. Use Everyclick as your search engine. Have you checked out this great alternative search engine? It works the way that any other search engine does to assist you in finding information on the Internet. However, it has the added bonus of giving money to charity for every click that is made on the site. There is probably no easier way to give to charity than to simply start using this search engine! And if you enjoy online shopping then you will be glad to know that even more money is given to charity when you choose to use eBay or the search engine’s shopping tool. You can choose from over 200,000 charities to give your click funds to.
6. Buy from companies that give a percentage of your purchase to charity. Speaking of shopping, another great way to give to charity is to research the charitable actions of the companies that you purchase from most frequently. If you’re spending money anyway then you may as well spend it with companies that give some of that money to charity. Countless businesses do this but a few examples include Overstock.com, HP, LG and some online sellers using the eBay for Charity program.
7. Make a Gift Aid donation at tax time. A nice way to give actual money to charity without feeling like you are spending any money is to give your tax refund to charity each year. Technically you are giving away your money but it’s money that you probably haven’t calculated into your budget yet so it feels like it doesn’t count. In the UK, you can use Self Assessment Giving and Gift Aid to give your tax refund to charity. There are similar programs in the U.S. as well.
8. Donate your used mobile phone. It is always important to recycle all of your consumer electronics rather than tossing them in the landfill. When it comes time to do so, you should look into donating them to businesses that actually re-use them. Mobile phones are among the easiest consumer electronics to donate in this way. Numerous organizations accept donations of mobile phones to benefit people in third world countries, victims of domestic abuse, members of the military and others. Some organizations to check out include Refuge, Water Aid and Age UK.
9. Give away your old glasses. Do you have to upgrade your glasses prescription this year? Give your old pair to someone who needs them! Some of the organizations that you can make this donation through include Vision Aid Overseas, The Second Sight Project, Lions Club International and British Red Cross.
10. Volunteer your time. The number of different items that you own and can donate is countless. However, when it really comes down to it the best thing that you can give for free is your time. Find a local cause that you want to support and volunteer your time there to help people in person. This will give you the most in terms of emotional rewards while costing you nothing at all. And it’s a great family activity!
What benefits have you experienced from giving to charity? Share your thoughts in the comments below to encourage everyone to give to others!