This is a post by staff writer Yazmin Cruz.
In the wake of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, charitable organizations are pushing a new holiday tradition today: Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday launches the holiday charitable giving season, according to an NPR story.
Find yourself on a tight budget? Here’s how you can still give back without spending a dime.
- Give your time. While charitable organizations need money to stay up and running, they also need people who are willing to lend a hand. It won’t cost you any money to volunteer with one of your favorite charities. Ever hear the saying: “Charity starts at home”? Try in your neighborhood! For example, if you have an elderly neighbor, you could volunteer to come over and help with simple household chores.
- Clean up for a cause. Whether it’s an old car or junk in your attic or basement, consider donating it to a charity that can then turn a profit on the items. Send unwanted clothes to the Goodwill or Salvation Army donation centers. Or deliver them to a shelter. Make sure to get a receipt listing all the items you handed over. This may help you get a tax deduction.
- Buy with a purpose. I recently discovered GoodShop.com, a portal whose 1,500 participating stores contribute an average of 3 to 4 percent of your purchase to the charity you choose. You can buy all sorts of things — clothing, food, housewares, books, toys, and more! Your cause will also earn a penny every time you use the search-engine feature — just download the site’s toolbar.
- Get your friends involved. Are you only able to afford $5? Not a problem. Nonprofits do not turn away small donations, but you can also get friends and coworkers to pitch in for a larger sum.
- Make a medical donation. Just because you don’t have extra money in the bank doesn’t mean you have nothing to give. Consider donating blood, breast milk for preemies, and even your hair for those who have lost theirs due to a medical condition.
- Take a swipe for charity. Put your plastic to good use. Start by signing up for a credit card or debit card that gives back. For instance, BofA’s BankAmericard Cash Rewards Visa card benefits Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The bank donates a percentage of each purchase to the cause. According to its website, it also has debit cards that support the World Wildlife Fund and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
The point of Giving Tuesday is to make people just as excited to give as it is to score a deal on a tablet. With nonprofits struggling to find new donors and charitable giving being low, organizers want people to start thinking more about giving as a group experience instead of sitting alone making an end-of-year contribution.
Remember, people who give are more likely to be happy. How will you give back this holiday season?