15 Ways Even the Laziest Person Can Give Back Without Trying Too Hard

There are many good reasons to become more charitable. Maybe you’re passionate about a certain cause and ready to give back to your community. Maybe you’re tired of all the negativity in the world around you and want to make it a better place and inject 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 some simple ways you can be more charitable in your everyday life.

1. Follow Charities on Social Media

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If you’d like to stay current with your favorite charity or are curious to learn more about it, start by following them on social media.

This keeps the charity in your thoughts, and you’ll 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

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You don’t need to be rich in order to be a generous person. 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. Consider leaving a better tip for good service, too. 

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. 

Start by making some small changes like these examples, and before you know it, it will become second nature to you.

3. Give What’s Actually Needed

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Shelters and soup kitchens always welcome donations. But before you donate canned goods from your pantry, remember that others are also donating canned goods from their own pantries. 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.

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 nearby 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

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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. Attend Charity Events

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Participating in charitable events happening around you is an easy way to give back. When the neighborhood kids come to your door selling cookies or chocolate bars, buy one (or why not two?). Bring in some items from the list if there’s a canned food drive at work. Attend the community BBQ or picnic and get a delicious meal while also supporting a good cause. Pledge your best friend or colleague who is participating in a charity walkathon.

6. Browse the Web

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Yes, there are ways to play on the Internet and be charitable at the same time, and they are all pretty easy to do. One way to support charities is simply by clicking on their ads or sharing their links on your own social media accounts. Getting more traffic to their website is good for awareness and fundraising. 

Certain search engines will donate to charity when you use them, such as giveWater, or raise money by opening new tabs in your browser through Tab for a Cause. These are just the first examples I found online—there are many more!

7. Shop Online with Purpose

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Since you’re going to shop online anyway, raise money for charities by using sites like eBay for Charity or Goodshop. A portion of your purchase price is donated to whichever charity you choose.

You should also prioritize purchasing products from companies that donate a portion of their proceeds to charitable causes or have sustainable practices. Buying quality clothing instead of disposable, fast fashion items also makes a big impact. 

8. Shop Local

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Supporting local businesses or artisans, especially those that support social causes or are environmentally friendly, is a great way to give back to your community. It contributes to your economy and promotes local culture, plus the products have that extra level of care that big-box stores can’t provide.

9. Donate Your Unwanted Items

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Rather than throwing something away, consider if it could be used by someone else. Things like your unworn clothes, furniture, and old electronics could find new life in the hands of someone who needs them. Talk to local charities and thrift stores to see what they need. Pass things on to friends or family members, or post them in freebie groups online.

We’ve also had a lot of success leaving bigger items on the curb with a “free” sign. Someone always comes by and takes it.

10. Random Acts of Kindness

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Small gestures like holding the door for someone, paying for someone’s coffee, or offering a compliment can brighten someone’s day—and it only takes 30 seconds. It can also boost your own mood, making you feel happier and more fulfilled, so why not?

11. Reduce Your Environmental Impact

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Anything you can do to reduce your impact on the environment is a good thing. Recycling and reusing what you can are easy places to start. Craft sites and Pinterest are full of creative ideas for reusing things.

Conserving energy and reducing waste are also easy habits to add to your daily routine that will help your wallet, too. 

12. Pick Up Trash

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Join a community clean-up, or just grab some gloves and a garbage bag and pick up trash in public spaces and parks. Making a space clean and enjoyable for everyone also helps keep wildlife safe and waterways unpolluted. Be sure to wear the proper safety equipment, though, as you don’t want to get injured.

13. Hold a Fundraiser

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Organize a fundraising event such as a bake sale, garage sale, or charity dinner to raise money for a cause you care about. Get your kids or neighborhood involved and build relationships and memories at the same time. 

14. Use Your Credit Card

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If your credit card offers reward points or cashback, use these for charitable donations for the causes of your choice. Or get a credit card that supports a charity you care about. A percentage of your everyday spending will automatically be donated to the cause, so you don’t have to do anything extra to support it. 

15. Say Thank You

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It’s one of the simplest things, but is becoming more rare to hear. Yet, a heartfelt “thank you” is a powerful gesture that acknowledges and shows appreciation for the kindness of others. Make an effort to say it more often, and you will find yourself feeling happier and surrounded by happier people.

Choose Your Charities Carefully

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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.

Look on the charity’s website or social media pages 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 research can help you feel more comfortable, knowing that you actually are supporting a worthwhile charity.

Try These Surprisingly Simple Acts of Charity

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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, like giving a little bit of money or a bit of your time.

And guess what? It really makes the world better. So why not give it a shot? You might be surprised at how easy it is to make a big difference.

Amanda Kay, the founder of My Life, I Guess, provides valuable career advice and support for anyone striving to make a living and, more importantly, make a life. Whether it's navigating job searches, learning new skills, overcoming unemployment, or dealing with debt, My Life, I Guess has been a go-to resource for career guidance and financial stability since 2013. Amanda's expertise and relatable approach have been featured in trusted publications such as MSN, Credit.com, Yahoo! Finance, the Ladders and Fairygodboss.

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