There are a lot of reasons to become a more charitable person. Doing so will not only benefit the organization and the community they serve, but it can also boost your own mood, making you feel happier and more fulfilled.
Maybe you’re passionate about a certain cause and ready to give back to your community. Maybe you’re tired of all the negativity going on in the world around you and you want to make the world a better place and interject more positivity. Or maybe you’re simply looking for something that will look good on your resume, or for a way to get a bit of a tax break with a tax deduction.
Whatever the reason, if becoming a more charitable person is something you’ve been considering, you are in luck! Doing so doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult. And it doesn’t have to cost you anything, either.
Here are seven simple ways you can be more charitable in your every day life.
1. Follow Charities on Social Media
If you’d like to stay up to date with your favorite charity, or are curious to learn more about them, start by simply following them on social media.
Not only will this keep the charity in your thoughts, but you’ll also be the first to know about any events or fundraisers they may be hosting, and when they are in need of volunteers or donations.
2. Make Generosity a Habit
You don’t need to be rich in order to be a generous person.
Instead of volunteering once a year around the holidays, start volunteering a few times throughout the year. Better yet, volunteer once a month or once a week, if you have the time.
Instead of occasionally leaving a dollar in the donation box at the grocery store check-out line, start always leaving $1 whenever you see one. Better yet, donate $5 or $10 each time, if you can afford to do so.
Start by making some small changes like these examples, and before you know it, it will become second nature to you.
Suggested Article: Do You Struggle with Expressing Gratitude?
3. What Do Those in Need Actually Need?
Shelters and soup kitchens will always welcome your donations. But before you donate some canned goods from your pantry, be conscious of the fact that other people are also donating canned goods from their own pantries, too.
So why not donate something different? Something that these organizations don’t already have, but need.
People rarely think to donate toiletry items such as shampoo, toothpaste and toilet paper, but those items are needed just as urgently as that can of creamed corn is.
When I was in university, at the end of each school year my roommates and friends would all collect our unused and unwanted toiletries and donate them to a near by women’s shelter. They were more than happy to accept partially-used items as well, which would have ended up in the garbage otherwise.
Do you know what else shelters need? Your time. So, going back to my last point, why not consider volunteering instead of or in addition to making a donation?
4. Find a Cause That You Care About
If you’re not passionate or at least interested in the cause, you probably won’t stick to it. So think about what issues matter the most to you. What issue stirs up those emotions inside of you whenever you hear or talk about it?
It may be the environment, animals, children, veterans, poverty, homelessness, injustice, education and literacy, access to clean water, women’s rights, men’s rights, accessibility, violence, civil rights, immigration, discrimination, bullying, whatever matters to you.
Did you have a strong reaction when you read any of these suggestions? That’s probably a good indication of what matters to you.
5. Choose Your Charities Carefully
Before you donate your time, money or attention to a particular charity, check to make sure it’s a legitimate organization.
Research the organization online. Search the organization’s name with the terms “scam” or “complaints” to see what comes up. Check with other organizations such as the Better Business Bureau or Charity Navigator to see how the charity is rated.
On the charity’s own website or social media pages, look for details such as contact information, mission statements, financial records, how donations will be used, and a charity registration number. If you can’t find this information anywhere, find another charity to donate to.
The financial records are particularly important to look at. Unfortunately, there are charities out there that spend most of their donated funds on overhead expenses instead of the cause.
Doing a little researching can help you feel more comfortable, knowing that you actually are supporting a worthwhile charity.
6. Browse the Web
Yes, there are ways for you to play on the internet and be charitable at the same time. And they are all pretty easy to do.
Support charities simply by clicking on their ads or sharing their links on your own social media accounts.
You can also raise money by searching the web through sites like Every Click, by opening new tabs in your browser through Tab for a Cause, by sharing your photos with Donate a Photo, or simply by clicking to donate.
And these are just the places I found within 10 minutes of searching – I’m sure there are many more!
If you know of any, or have a favourite, please leave a comment below so we can all check it out and support it, too!
7. Donate Your Unwanted Items
It seems like everyone is jumping on the decluttering and minimalism bandwagon lately, largely thanks Marie Kondo and her KonMari method.
(If you’re not familiar, Marie Kondo is a best-selling author and tidying expert, who also has a show on Netflix called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Her system is designed to help people simplify and organize their homes by going through each item one at a time, only keeping the things that “spark joy”, and getting rid of the rest.)
Rather than throwing something away, consider if it could be used by those less fortunate. Things like your unworn clothes, furniture and old electronics could make someone’s day. Talk to local charities and thrift stores to see how you’re donated items can help.
Being more charitable doesn’t have to mean changing your whole lifestyle, or making sacrifices that you’re not ready to make. Every little bit you can do will make a difference!
YOUR TURN: How are your charitable? Do you have a favourite charity that you volunteer with or donate to? Let us know in the comments!
Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.