In 2017, a staggering 77.34 million US adults offered their valuable time to do some volunteer work. In total, their efforts led to 6.9 billion hours of charitable work. In economic terms, that equates to around $167 billion.

That’s not all.

In 2018, Americans donated more than $427 billion to charity. This represents an almost $3 billion increase from 2017.

All these prove that folks in the US, despite many facing their own financial woes, still give to charity. In fact, for the last 10 years, the US has been the “most generous country” in terms of charitable giving.

If you’ve always wanted to extend a helping hand to the less fortunate, now’s the best time to. There are plenty of ways to donate to charity without compromising your own finances.

Ready to learn how to donate to charity without breaking the bank? Then let’s dive right into it!

1. Start By Donating Some of the Stuff You Already Have

A whopping 300,000 items — that’s how much stuff the average US home contains. From clothes to toys to electronics, there are so many useful things that you own but likely no longer use. Rather than let them keep collecting dust, consider giving them to charitable organizations.

Books, for instance, are some of the best and most useful items to give away. This could be a huge help to the two-thirds of impoverished kids who live in homes without any books.

Other used goods that are more than welcome are pillows, blankets, clothes, and bags. Just be sure that these are in good condition, as you’re giving to people, not recycling facilities.

2. Do the Less Fortunate (and the Environment) Some Good through Recycling

Speaking of recycling, you can also opt for this method and then donate the money you raise. You have a lot of options, seeing as the average US household now owns 24 electronic gadgets. You likely don’t (or rarely) use some of these, or some of them may no longer be working.

If you have a junk car and you have no plans of fixing or scrapping it, you can also donate it to charity. If you give it to an organization bearing an IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit status, you can even get a tax deduction!

Glass, scrap metal, rubber, and loads of other materials are also recyclable for cash. Once you’ve turned these money, you can then give the money straight to a charity of your choice. Moreover, the fact that you’re recycling also helps environmental preservation efforts.

There’s also the bonus of clearing and decluttering your home. You’ll be able to free up more space at home, which can help make it cleaner and more organized. So, not only are you helping out those in need — you’re also improving your home and making it more livable.

3. Get Others to Participate with a Fund Raiser

Fundraisers are effective and popular because they’re also enjoyable for the attendees. Sporting events for a cause, for instance, are a big hit, seeing as 200 million Americans are sports fans. These events can raise a lot of funds since both players and viewers can contribute.

Bake- or cook-off tournaments and videogame competitions are also ideal concepts for fundraisers. For one, because they trigger the innate competitiveness in humans. There’s also the “extra” motivation in knowing that they’re competing for a good cause.

To make your fundraisers even more memorable, give away tokens or memorabilia. Something small yet impactful, like challenge coins or custom military coins or something they can use daily like the custom travel mugs from ABC Fundraising. These tokens could even help boost the overall team spirit of the players competing in the event!

4. Donate Some (or All) of Your Tax Refund

Almost three-quarters of Americans receive some form of a tax refund each year. The average amount of refund is around $3,000.

Now, consider that in 2018, US households spent an average of $7,923 for food at and away from home. This puts the average daily cost of food at around $22.

If you donate even just $1,000 of your tax refund, it would be enough to feed one household for 45 days. Since the average US household has 2.6 people, then your $1,000 donation is enough for 117 meals.

Of course, you don’t have to donate this kind of amount if you have a smaller tax refund. Even a $30 donation can already cover half of the average household monthly water bill of $70. A $50 donation can help a less-fortunate family keep their heating on during the winter.

The bottom line is, your generosity — whether big or small — can really be a life-saver. Plus, you can write off your donations as tax deductions next season!

5. Donate or Use Your Credit Card Rewards

Many credit card companies let their clients donate their accrued rewards to charity. You can send points and even miles straight to the charity of your choice. You can also use your cashback rewards as a monetary gift to a charitable organization.

Another option is to use your rewards to shop for goods like food, water, clothes, and school supplies. You can then donate these items to schools, facilities, or low-income communities.

6. Shop at Charity-Centered Businesses

Many brands, both big and small, now donate part of their revenues to charities. For instance, small US businesses dedicate an average of 6% of what they make to charities. Many others, like shopping sites and manufacturers, donate a portion of their proceeds.

That said, you can start giving to charity by choosing these generous brands. It may be an indirect method, but any amount used to help others can have a direct impact on these people’s lives.

7. Spend Some of Your Free Time as a Volunteer

Orphanages, food pantries, and soup kitchens are always looking for volunteers. The American Red Cross is also a worthy organization to become a volunteer in. If you have the credentials, local public hospitals are sure to welcome you too.

If you’re more of an outdoorsy person, consider signing up as a national park volunteer. You can also spend some of your time lifting the spirits of nursing home residents. There are also a lot of animal shelters that need as many helping hands as they can get.

Granted, the time that you spend on volunteered activities isn’t tax-deductible. However, it’s one of the most fulfilling experiences you can ever have. The act of giving can even enhance both your physical and mental health.

8. Set Up a Drive

A drive is different from a fundraiser in the sense that you’re collecting items instead of money. They share the same purpose though: to help raise funds for a charitable cause. It may be easier to start with a drive though, as most people will already have something to donate.

You can even start with your own family members. Ask them to donate something, be it clothes, books, or toys. Or, you can ask them to donate cash, which will then go towards buying material donations.

This is also a great time to teach your kids about giving. Bring them along as you shop for the items in your to-donate list. Explain how these acts of generosity, no matter how small, has the potential of saving lives.

After your own household, consider bringing your idea to the workplace. You can ask your co-workers to come up with something like a “goodie basket”. Water, canned goods, and toiletries are the best items to put in these donations.

Ask your colleagues to spread the word too, and perhaps even bring it up at home. Their family members may also want to contribute and make donations. The more people who participate, the more mouths can be fed.

9. Simply Give Whatever You Can

At the end of the day, charity work is all about giving whatever you can to those in need. If you can’t set up a drive or organize a fundraiser now, start with something small.

Perhaps you can throw in a few more canned goods, rolls of toilet paper, and soap bars in your grocery cart. Maybe you can spare some of the food supplies you already have in your pantry. You can then box all these up and deliver to your nearby soup kitchen or food bank.

Simple acts like these can already feed several hungry mouths. For many people in need, that may be the only thing they need to have hope for tomorrow.

Follow These Tips to Give to Charity Without Breaking the Bank

The bottom line is, you don’t have to be the next Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates just to be able to do charity work. Nor do you have to own a company like Gilead Sciences. Generosity is all it takes to touch a soul in despair and even save a life today.

So, if you’re feeling generous, time to act on it! Try one or all of these tips to give to charity so you can experience the joy of giving.

Ready for some more gift-giving guides to make the people around you smile? Then be sure to check out the rest of the posts we have on our site!