Any decent human being wants to leave the world in a better place, even if it’s just slightly. We have this need to help others, make life better for others, and give back to our communities and the world. But, it’s hard to give back when you’re broke, or when you feel like you can’t even afford to pay your own bills. So what do you do then? Here are 7 ways that you can give back, even when you don’t think you have the money to do it.
7 Ways to Give Back When You’re Broke
This post was written by our fabulous staff writer, Kimberly Studdard.
This is one of the easiest ways to give back when you’re broke.
- For one, it takes no money on your part.
- For two, there are many non-profits, charities, and more that are looking for people who want to give back to their communities.
Volunteering not only makes a difference, but you feel better when you do it. Plus, the non-profits get some more helping hands, which can mean more people being taken care of!
When volunteering, try to find something you’re passionate about doing and can commit time to. For me, women’s shelters and animal shelters were where my heart was. I don’t mind volunteering for health care or at soup kitchens, but I love animals, and as a product of abuse, love working with women and getting them to a place where they can be confident in taking care of themselves.
So for me, volunteering at these two places…
- fills my heart with joy,
- gets me out of the house to do something good, and also
- means I can help without spending any dollars.
2) Donate Stuff
I can guarantee that you have at least one or two items in your home that you don’t need or want. Why not donate them to someone who will cherish them?
- Maybe you have blankets that are old and that you think are a little worn out, but an animal shelter can always use more blankets for their dogs and cats.
- Maybe you have furniture that you don’t like and want to get rid of. Low-income nursing home patients could always benefit from a nice recliner or a nightstand.
Whatever it is, donating your stuff is a great way to give back when you’re broke, because it doesn’t require anything on your part but the stuff you were going to throw away anyway.
As a note, you may not want to donate to Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. While these organizations are cheap and will take just about anything, they have been surrounded by controversy and there are better ways to donate your items.
3) Give Some Change
Even when I was broke, I would always throw my change into a donation jar or even tack on a dollar to my total when checking out from a store. Sometimes, even if you give just a dollar, it can make you feel good about yourself and encourage you to do more when you can.
A dollar or less may not seem like much to you when it comes to donations, but they add up, and quickly. It’s like those commercials that say “For just .10 cents a day you can….” and it’s true. Even if you don’t have much to give, it’s still a blessing to someone that can really use it.
4) Donate Your Hair
My husband actually did this himself this past year. He grew out his hair for over 2 years and donated over 19″ of hair to Wigs For Kids. He was told that his hair would make at least one wig (for free) for a child living with hair loss due to an illness and that it may even be able to make a second wig. I’ve never seen my husband so proud!
To top it off, he even got a discount on the haircut because he was donating his hair. So instead of paying $40, he only paid $15. And his haircut was great too!
If you’re willing to chop off your hair, this is a good way to donate to a great cause. Wigs For Kids offers free wigs to children in need of them in order to feel like themselves and go through life as “normal” as they can. And knowing that he could brighten the lives of at least one kid made my husband’s hair growth journey totally worth it.
5) Donate Blood/Plasma
I know that not everyone can do this. For example, my sister is severely anemic and has tiny veins that make it impossible for her to donate blood. But, if you’re relatively healthy, donating blood and plasma can be a lifesaving opportunity for someone else.
And, did you know that you can earn money by donating plasma?
It takes time (upwards of three hours), but you can get up to $50 a donation and you can save someone’s life. Not a bad gig huh? Plus, you get to give back while earning money. It’s a win-win situation.
6) Play Freerice
When I was in high school, we practiced Spanish using a site called Freerice. For us bored high schoolers, it was an interesting game that got out us out studying for an hour. But in reality, the organization behind Freerice was donating food with every answer we got right.
With Freerice, every correct answer donates 10 grains of rice to a community in dire need of food. And unlike some other organizations and charities, Freerice gives all donations, including money, right into the communities that need it. It’s truly non-profit, and none of the money they make goes into their own pockets. So, if you have a problem with non-profits profiting off of donations, you can feel good about this one.
7) Do Something Pro-Bono
If you’re in college or have a talent, gift, or degree you aren’t using to your fullest potential, offer your time pro-bono. This isn’t just a thing for doctors and lawyers. Anyone can give their time pro-bono.
For example, I have a friend who was an accountant studying for her CPA and Master’s Degree. She wanted to give back but money was tight, so she decided to donate her time to other African-American women starting businesses with little funds in her community. She set up their bookkeeping, helped them with their budgets, and more. This allowed her to do something in her field, pro-bono, while also giving back to the women who helped her become who she wanted to be.
Other pro-bono options include:
- free tutoring,
- teaching music lessons,
- teaching a language,
- writing resumes, and more.
There is always a way to give back to individual people and communities, that also utilize your skills.
Give Back When You’re Broke
See? There are quite a few ways to give back when you’re broke.
You don’t need to be rich to make a difference. You just have to take the time and make the commitment to do something that helps others. There is no right or wrong way to give back, as long as you love it and do it because you want to make a difference.
Are you ready to give back, even if you’re broke?
AUTHOR Kimberly Studdard
Kim Studdard is a project manager for online entrepreneurs and small businesses. When she isn't spending time with her daughter and husband, or reading her growing pile of horror books, you'll find her working on her HR degree and working towards FIRE.