10 Ways to Give Back on #GivingTuesday Without Breaking the Bank

Get out your wallet and warm up your charitable spirit because #GivingTuesday is right around the corner. This worldwide day of philanthropy takes place on November 29th, (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving) and marks the start of the charitable giving season. In 2015, over 700,000 people in 70 countries participated in #GivingTuesday, giving $116 million in online donations. However, in a time when money is tight due to holiday expenses, finding the funds to make donations can be challenging. The good news? You can still participate and get in the charitable spirit.

Here are 10 ways you can give on #GivingTuesday without breaking your budget.

1. Use Philanthropic Apps

Put your smartphone to good use and download apps that can help you give back without spending a dime! If you are active, download Charity Miles, ResQWalk, or WoofTrax to have the miles you walk or run earn money for charity. Or if you love taking photos, use the Donate a Photo app to share your photos and have $1 per photo be donated to charity.

2. Donate Your Rewards

If you earn rewards through loyalty programs or credit cards, why not use your points for good? Donate your frequent flyer miles that are about to expire to charity, or if you have a rewards credit card, you may be able to use your points to donate to charity. Some credit cards even give to charity when you sign up, or use your card.

3. Shop Socially Conscious Companies

Do some research before you start your holiday spending and give your business to companies that give back. For example, when buying a new pair of shoes for your kids, buy from TOMS to ensure that for every shoe you buy, one is given to someone in need. Or, if you have holiday travel plans and need a pet sitter, booking one through Sitting for a Cause (which, full disclosure, I own and operate) ensures a portion of the money you spend on your pet's care helps homeless animals.

4. Ask Your Employer About Charitable Benefits

Find out if your employer offers donation matching, and if they do, have them match any charitable contributions you make. Or see if your employer offers paid volunteer hours so you can give your time to a worthy cause. If your employer doesn't offer these programs, bring them up at your next review and see if you can get either option added to your benefits package.

5. Give Through Decluttering

Take a few hours to do declutter your home and get rid of items you no longer use. Have old blankets or towels? Donate them to your local animal shelter. Have tons of books collecting dust? Donate them to the library. Are extra clothes taking up space in your closet? Donate them to Goodwill.

6. Purchase Through AmazonSmile

Almost everyone uses Amazon to shop these days, but the next time you decide to make a purchase through Amazon, use AmazonSmile instead. You can select a charity you'd like to benefit from your purchases and each time you make an eligible purchase, .5% of your payment will be sent to your designated charity.

7. Give Your Expertise

Are you a superstar at social media, a pro at photography, or a whiz at writing? Use your expertise to help one of your local nonprofits. It's not uncommon for a charity's resources to be limited, so helping with their social media, contributing to their blog, or offering to take photos at their events (or for animal shelters, taking photos of their adoptable pets) can have a positive impact on their success.

8. Become a Foster Parent

If you have the emotional stamina, open up your home to a child or animal in need. Foster homes are always needed for children or pets who are waiting to find permanent homes. Especially when it comes to animals, having a foster home alleviates the stress of being in a shelter and opens up space for another pet to wait for their home, so you've helped save two lives instead of just one!

9. Give Parts of Yourself

Do you have long hair? Are needles not at all scary to you? Then give to help others! Charities like Wigs for KidsLocks of Love, and Pantene Beautiful Lengths are always looking for hair donations to make wigs for those in need. Alternately, you can head to your local hospital or participate in a Red Cross blood drive to donate blood or platelets.

10. Volunteer

When money is tight, the simplest way to give back is by donating your time to a worthy cause. Volunteers are often the backbone that keep nonprofits running, so by taking the time to volunteer, you are enabling the cause you work with to keep making a difference.

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