It’s getting to be that time of year again — to give! According to the New York Post, 30% of annual charitable contributions are made in December. Giving can not only benefit the recipient — it can benefit you too!
But, what if you don’t have a lot of cash? Not to worry! Below are 8 ways you can give even if you are short on dough.
8 ways to be generous that don’t involve dollars
1. Volunteer your time
There are so many ways to give back by volunteering: Visit a nursing home, serve meals at a food bank, volunteer with a local pet shelter, become a youth mentor, grocery shop for an elderly person or veteran in your neighborhood — these are just a few ideas. You can also give of your skills. SkillsforChange.com helps you place your talents with a meaningful cause that could benefit from them.
2. Give stuff
Unless you live in a tiny house, most of us have extra stuff we aren’t using that someone else would find useful. Used toys, books, clothes, shoes, holiday decorations, and anything else could be a great find for someone else. Plus, you’ll receive the added benefit of decluttering your home! For tips on where to donate used items during the holidays, click here.
Read more: Beware of this used car donation gotcha
3. Give stock
Giving stock is a great idea because not only can you write off the stock as a tax deduction, you also avoid the unrealized gains on the donated stock. According to CBS News, the deduction for a donation of property to charity is equal to the property’s current fair market value, and when it is donated, the donor does not have to recognize the capital gains.
For example, if you paid $500 for stock and it grew to $1,000, you could donate the full amount of $1000 to a charity, without having to pay the capital gains tax on the $500 earned if you sold the stock yourself. So, if the tax was 30%, you could give the charity $150 more than you would have received yourself if you had simply sold the stock.
This does have a catch though – you have to have owned the stock for at least a year, and it works best for people whose marginal tax bracket is 15% or higher and who itemize their deductions.
4. Give blood or plasma
Blood donations tend to drop during the holidays, even though the demand remains constant. The shelf life for blood is only 42 days. To give blood, visit the Red Cross website here. To give plasma, you can find a local plasma donation location here.
5. Use technology differently
Did you know that just by choosing to use technology differently, you can benefit someone in need? Tab for a Cause, an app for Chrome or Firefox Web browsers is such a technology that will automatically donate tiny amounts of money each time someone opens a new tab. Additionally, if you play an educational game on FreeRice, the United Nations World Food Programme will receive 10 grains of rice for every question you answer correct.
6. Become an organ donor
Every day, 22 people die from lack of available organ donors. Unless you have religious beliefs that prohibit organ donation, Clark believes this can be a great service to provide to your fellow human beings to extend their lives. Clark is an organ donor himself! Click here to learn how you can become an organ donor.
Read more: Clark’s charity donation guide
7. Leverage your connections
Do you know anyone who is part of a large organization or who owns their own business? They might be wanting to do something meaningful in the community, and it is a double benefit for businesses to be able to sponsor a great cause. You never know – even if you don’t have the money yourself, you could be the catalyst for a great partnership, and huge community impact. It never hurts to ask!
8. Exercise more
The app CharityMiles tracks every mile you run, walk, or bike and turns it into a donation given by corporate sponsors. You can earn 10¢ for each mile biked and 25¢ for each mile walked or run.
If you are able to give money yourself, you’ll want to be sure you get a receipt from your charity of choice for any donation above $250. Follow these tips from the IRS to be sure you can deduct the amount from your taxes next year!