Donating to charities a great way to help others in need, but it isn’t the only way. Whether you have a heart of gold but are short on cash, or just want to find new ways to serve the less fortunate, here are five awesome alternatives to donating money to charity.

Identify needs

You know those drives that always happen after major natural disasters? Not only can you send in cash, but you can also drop off goods to those who have lost their homes. Consider donating clothes or quality cookware sets to help people return to some form of normality after having lost their home. If you can’t afford to donate new items, consider sending your gently used things to those who have nothing. Just keep in mind that these people are displaced and under a lot of stress, so they have neither the time nor the energy to repair items that are overly worn or damaged. If you can’t buy and donate new, take extra care to send stuff that’s in good working condition.


Time is money, friend, and if you can’t send the money, you can give your time. This is the very essence of timebanking. Volunteering is a great way to put your skills to work for others. With a simple search on the internet, you will be able to find an abundance of volunteer opportunities around you in your city. Whatever your skillset is, chances are there’s an organization that could use your help. New programs are even emerging to help those of you who are retired find the perfect fit for the lifetime of unique skills you have acquired.

Give blood

Blood donations save lives for people in critical conditions around the world. Not to be bleak, but accidents can happen at any time, and you or someone you love may one day be reliant on a blood transfusion. This is why it’s so important to pay it forward. Donating blood doesn’t cost money, making it a great alternative to donating to charity. You do need to take care of yourself as a blood donor, though. Prepare yourself and know what to expect going in so you can give without depleting your own body’s needs.

Find your purpose

We already talked about matching your skills with the needs of the community. If you are young, you still have years ahead of you to grow skills. By finding your passion early, you can dedicate more time and effort to educating yourself and solving the problems in your field of interest. For example, if you love taking care of people and medical school is on the horizon, consider taking up the responsibility of treating others internationally with programs like Doctors Without Borders. If you like computer science and want to help fight child sex abuse, you could dedicate your skills to companies such as Thorn who are on the same mission.

Celebrate your birthday

Facebook now makes it easy to raise money for causes you believe in. You can donate your birthday presents by inviting others to send money to your charity of choice. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate your existence and give to others at the same time! Learning how is easy, and donating is even easier. Let’s be real, many of your Facebook acquaintances probably weren’t going to send you a gift anyway, but a charitable donation tugs at the heartstrings.

Donating money isn’t the only option when trying to make the world a better place. By identifying your strengths, developing said strengths, and then putting them to work, you can help others and provide for the needy in your area.

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