The following is a staff writer post from Amanda L. Grossman at Frugal Confessions. She covers how to live a frugal decadent life where saving and living in the present are both held in high regard.
Organizations that accept donations of money, belongings, and time always see an uptick in willing givers during the holiday season at the end of the year. The end of the year gives a marked deadline for tax-deductible donations, many are feeling warm and fuzzy from the holiday season, and online and offline donation campaigns add exposure and convenience to the whole process. According to this Online Giving Study, one third of all online donations are procured in December of each year. An astounding 22% of annual giving happens in the last two days of the year alone!
The end of the year is a wonderful time to donate. But what about the rest of the year, during times when there are no natural disasters to rally our hearts and our wallets? Even if you do not have much money to spare, there are many ways that you can still donate and make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.
Commit Random Acts of Kindness
Have you ever had a Random Act of Kindness committed to you by a complete stranger? What an easy and fun way to spread joy in this world! After seeing an episode about this on Oprah, my parents began committing Random Acts of Kindness to complete strangers during my childhood. The one I remember most was when we were at a toll booth and my parents randomly paid the fare for the car behind them.
Without knowing the person, their situation, or really anything about him/her, by committing a Random Act of Kindness you can make someone smile while they think about all of the good in this world. Some ideas are to pay for a person’s order in the car behind you at the drive-thru, pick up an extra Sunday paper and leave it at someone’s stoop with a nice message, or perhaps leave a roll of quarters with a note at the Laundromat. Can you imagine the look of surprise on your recipient’s face?
Donate by Playing Games
Do you have time and the desire to increase (or test) your vocabulary? At FreeRice.com you can play multiple-choice vocabulary quizzes. For each word that you define correctly, 10 grains of rice will be donated to the World Food Programme to help end world hunger. You start at Level 1 and can go to Level 60. There is also a wooden bowl for the rice on your right-hand side, and you can watch it fill up (I worked up to 3,080 grains of rice in the writing of this article; fortunately for me, they do not take grains of rice away for incorrect answers)!
You can also play crossword puzzles at Charitii and choose which charity you would like your wins to be donated to (charities include charity: water, Invisible Youth Network, The Nature Conservancy, The Oaktree Foundation, and Philippine Aid Society).
Donate by Pushing Buttons
CharityUSA.com is a good place to find several, legitimate, click-to-give charities on the web. For any of the charities that you find on this site, 100% of sponsor advertising is paid as a royalty to GreaterGood.org, an independent 501(c)(3) charity that makes grants to charity partners delivering services in its mission areas. As an example, in the month of April over 357,000 pounds of food were donated from people clicking on buttons. And all you have to do is click a button (there is no cost to you)! Charities include Feeding America, the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc., the World Land Trust-US, and Feed Our Vets.
Sometimes a donation of time can make a world of difference. You could mentor a young child through programs such as Big Brother Big Sister, you could tutor children in a nearby elementary school, or why not volunteer at the zoo? Any project, mission, or organization that you are interested probably has a volunteer position that you can fill. This is especially true if you have skills to offer, such as my aunt who used her managerial and resume-writing skills to work with an organization that helps women transition from welfare to work.
I hope that this inspires you to donate throughout the year and not just around the holidays or surrounding natural disasters. Imagine how much more of an impact there could be if everyone did this?