Giving Back on a Budget

January 25, 2022

One of the most rewarding and selfless acts we experience is giving back to others. With so many having kind and generous hearts, the desire to help a family in need touches many, including those who have their own financial woes. If you are not able to help other families financially, there are other ways you can give back without putting your own finances in jeopardy.

Your Time Is Valuable

If you do not have money to give, your time is always appreciated by families in need and communities that are suffering. When events like natural disasters come through a community and destroy the homes in its path, those families cherish those who give their time and sweat, helping to rebuild their home and giving back to the community. Acts as small as showing up to clean up debris and trash from yards and homes that were filled with floodwaters mean more than a financial donation.

There are at least as many opportunities to volunteer your time as there are opportunities to donate money – all it takes is a willing heart, able body, and transportation. As it turns out, the value provided by volunteering your time does not just benefit the families and communities in need. It also greatly benefits you! Volunteering promotes a sense of community and well-being while building on skills and giving us the chance to socialize and connect with others. If you drive your vehicle to attend a volunteering event, you can even claim a tax deduction for the mileage. Win-win!

Your Trash Could Be Another Family’s Treasure

When it is time to part with clothing that no longer fits or that you no longer need, you can always help families in need out by giving them these items. If you know the family personally or have a mutual friend, you can reach out and schedule a time to meet or drop off the items if they are interested. If that family has children that are younger than your own, you can establish an annual donation, by gifting them the gently used items that your children may have outgrown.

This is also true with toys and furniture that your family outgrows over time. As your own family gets older and outgrows toys and bedroom furniture, you will need to get rid of it. In many cases, the toys or the furniture are still in good condition and would be a waste to toss out as trash.

Donating Physical Objects

Think about it: so many of the things we purchase are physical objects our families need to get by and live comfortably. Many of us also have extras of something lying around the house, even if we don’t have much in the way of extra funds. Perhaps a caring grandparent sent just a few too many blankets home with you, or maybe you scored a really good deal on thrifted sheets and pillows. All of these things, if gently used, clean, and in good condition, make for excellent donation options. When families are impacted by disasters or other trauma, you can fill in the need with a very practical symbol of warmth and caring by donating comforters, blankets, sheet sets, pillows, construction materials, and other items.

Donate Your Talent

If you have a certain skill, craft, or trade, you can donate these services to families in need. For example, if you work as a plumber, you can donate services to a family who may need their plumbing repaired but do not have the financial means to cover the cost. If you have noticed that a family is in need of a home repair that you are capable of fixing at no cost and it will improve their life quality, then you can donate your talent and time to make this repair. You will not be put out financially and can give back to a family in need.

Using your handiwork isn’t the only option when it comes to donating talent, either. Most charitable organizations are short on people power and can use your assistance with anything ranging from event coordination, to stuffing and mailing envelopes, to taking photographs, to running social media – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! You can also offer to pick up groceries, keep an elderly family member company, walk a dog, or do some yard work for a family in need. Basically, if you can imagine it, someone out there can use your help with it.

Unexpected Sources of Monetary Donations

Speaking of imagination, you can get pretty imaginative when it comes to finding sources of money to donate, too. We understand that funds can be tight despite the strong desire to give, and that’s okay!

Do you have a rewards credit card? Look into the benefits, and you may be surprised to find that many cards offer the option to donate miles, points, or cash back right on their websites to a number of causes. If you shop on Amazon like millions of Americans do, you can also select a charity to give 0.5% back of each purchase you make via AmazonSmile. There are also apps that allow you to round up purchases made on your phone; just search for charity apps or roundup apps like RoundUp or GiveTide to get started.

There are a few more old-fashioned ways to give monetary donations to charity, too. Many people choose to donate a portion or more of their annual tax refunds to charitable causes. These donations can be claimed as deductions the following year. Donating all or a portion of a workplace bonus is another possibility.

Another often overlooked source? Your couch cushions and jacket pockets. That’s right! Do you have coins just lying around in odd places, or maybe a coin jar or piggy bank? Consider collecting all those coins in one place and exchanging them for bills via Coinstar or your bank of choice.

Raising Money from Others

Never underestimate the generosity of other people. You can motivate great feats of giving with just a little enthusiasm and effort, as people are more inclined to give when others do, too. Sponsored walks or runs are one popular mode for raising donations. Organizing a drive is another timeless way to gather donations from others around you. From yard sales to bake-offs, to craft sales, to car washes, there are plenty of low-cost, fun ways you can organize your community to give money for something they like – while also benefiting others in need.

If you prefer going virtual in your efforts to raise money from others, there are several popular and effective options to consider. You could start a crowdfunding campaign to benefit your charity or cause of choice on a platform like GoFundMe, Givebutter, Fundly, or Bonfire. An even simpler option? Ask your friends and family to make a donation in your name in lieu of a birthday or holiday gift. Facebook has a simple birthday charity fundraising tool you can use, or you can simply make the request yourself.

How to Plan for Donations in Your Budget

Budgeting can be a chore, if not downright stressful, for many people. Yet there’s a benefit to planning for your expenses on a regular basis. If giving back is a priority for you and your family, then our best advice is to treat donations just like any other expense: plan for them as much as possible.

Whether you prefer to operate on a monthly or yearly basis, create a written budget that you can stick to. For many, settling on an overall percentage of income rather than a fixed dollar amount makes the most sense. What percentage of income do you have leftover after all the necessary expenses? Take a portion of that discretionary income and reallocate it to your charitable efforts. If you can automate your giving to occur on a fixed schedule, all the better. Recurring donations bring great stability to charities that are constantly looking to maximize their impact.

Finally, depending upon your employer’s size and culture, you may have an untapped company matching program for charitable giving. Make sure you look into it, as your hard-earned dollars will go much further when backed by a corporation.

Giving Back to Your Community

No matter your budget and ability to donate financially, you can still get out there and help other families when your budget is tight. Whether you donate your time, unwanted items, or your skills, there is a way to give back to these families and help improve their quality of life. Coming together as a community can be more of an impact than a financial donation and last longer.

If you are interested in more information about Sleep in Heavenly Peace or would like to get involved, contact us today.