Money·2 min read

How to Be Charitable Even When Money's Tight

how to be charitable when money's tight
Design: theSkimm | Photo: iStock
January 21, 2021

The Story

Giving back isn't ALL about the Benjamins.

What do you mean?

That you don't need a lot of money to do some good. A few different ideas:

  • Volunteer your time. From delivering meals to writing letters to frontline workers, there are lots of ways to give back during your downtime. Search AmeriCorps, United Way, and VolunteerMatch for ways to help.

  • Share your skills. You can do good by doing whatever you're good at. Think: tutoring, bookkeeping, graphic design, etc. Tap into resources like Taproot Foundation and Catchafire for pro bono opportunities.

  • Donate your stuff. If you’re spending more time at home lately, take the opportunity to declutter and donate: toys, clothing, canned goods (that aren’t expired), furniture, and even cars. Some orgs let you schedule a pickup.

  • Give of yourself...literally. Donating hair, blood or plasma (especially if you've had COVID-19) could make a difference for someone. And even save a life. Ask your doc or use the American Red Cross's search tool to find a blood drive near you.

  • Spend intentionally. Money talks. And where you spend says a lot about you. So look to shop at businesses that align with your values. That could mean supporting woman- or Black-owned stores, focusing on cruelty-free products or shopping on AmazonSmile, where a portion of your purchase goes to charity.

  • Pass on your points. Some credit card companies let you redeem your rewards as donations. Log on to your online portal or call the number on the back of your card for details.

Good ideas. Anything else?

Remember that when it comes to doing good, every dollar counts. If you want to give cash, some nonprofits allow donations of as little as $5. So you can do whatever fits your budget best.


You don't need a huge budget to make a difference. Giving back can look like giving your time, skills, and stuff. And intentionally supporting businesses with missions that match yours.

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