5 Ways to Contribute to Causes Without Your Wallet
Smart Money
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Sarita Harbour
Mar 19, 2019

Are you looking for ways to contribute to your favorite cause, charity or non-profit organization without hitting your wallet? Maybe you’re eager to respond to a developing humanitarian crisis, or to help people impacted by a recent natural disaster. In either case, there are many ways to help out without making a cash donation.  Here are five ways to make a difference - and they don’t require parting with a single penny.

#1. Create a Facebook Fundraiser

As of June 2018, Facebook introduced a little-known set of features called Facebook Fundraising Tools.

Charitable organizations in eligible countries may apply to set up a fundraising Facebook page where they can collect funds for recognized, eligible non-profit causes. In order to work, the Facebook Page Category must fall be a “Non-Profit Organization” or a “Charity Organization”. It must also include an address in the About section.

Facebook Fundraiser pages include “Donate” buttons which individuals to set up one-time or recurring monthly donations to the cause or charity.

Individual users also have the option to apply to set up Facebook fundraisers to raise money for personal causes. Although Facebook fundraising pages don’t have fees, Facebook does charge a fee (and a portion of it may go to tax, depending on your location) for personal fundraisers.

Don’t overlook the power of simply spreading the word via social media. By liking, sharing, commenting, pinning, tweeting, and otherwise interacting with posts for your favorite non-profit causes, you’re contributing by helping raise awareness with others in your social networks.

#2. Donate A Raffle or Silent Auction Item

Do you have something of value to donate as a door prize, silent auction item, or raffle prize? This lets you contribute without an out-of-pocket expense. Items could be something of value that’s new, antique (preferably verified with an appraisal), or even an artisan craft. Popular items include collectibles, art, new kitchen appliances or household tools and appliances.

#3. Volunteer Your Expertise

If you’re looking for ways to give back without contributing money, consider volunteering. Many non-profit and charitable organizations appreciate free help,  especially when you’re sharing professional advice or skills. Then cash donations can be used to support other much-needed expenses.

For example, most charitable organizations now operate websites. They need help building and running their sites creating content, and setting up email and social media campaigns to promote their organization.  Other organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity actively recruit volunteers both skilled and unskilled to help build houses.

In today’s world, technology means you can even contribute your expertise to causes in remote or distant locations. Visit a site such as Volunteer Match to check out global virtual volunteer opportunities.

#4. Donate Loyalty and Rewards Points to Charity

Another great way to support a cause without cash is to donate your travel rewards points. Some large charitable organizations like the Make-A-Wish Foundation let donors contribute their airline miles right on their website. Another option to consider is Hero Points, which help fund air travel for wounded, injured or ill American service men and women and their families.

Call your airline or hotel travel loyalty and rewards customer service directly to find out how to donate your points.

#5. Donate Something Needed

Donations take many forms - not just money or points. For example, the Red Cross always needs blood donors. Your local food bank could probably use some canned goods and paper products. Organizations such as Locks of Love collect hair to make wigs for children who have lost their own due to medical conditions or treatment. And don’t forget about donating your gently used clothing, sports equipment and household items to Goodwill store or the Salvation Army Thrift Store so it can be sold to raise cash.

Consider your skill set, intangible and tangible items, and your time as valuable assets worthy of donation. And remember, you don’t need a sizeable bank account to give back to those in need.

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