It is a familiar feeling; that nagging guilt as you zigzag down the high street, avoiding the charity representatives who want to sign you up for a monthly donation. Dodging the “chuggers”, or charity muggers, as these people are somewhat unfortunately known, is sadly all too common as people feel they are too busy, too stressed and too lacking in funds to help out. Luckily, there are loads of ways that you can do your bit for charity that do not involve handing over any money at all.
Give some time
Charities don’t just need money in order to do good work, they also need people. If you have some spare time then volunteering is a great way to help out. This could be at a local community centre, a library or even just in your local neighbourhood. Schemes that provide hot meals can be invaluable to older people or those with limited mobility, especially in the winter.
Helping with the gardening, collecting prescriptions or doing some shopping are just some of the tasks that can make a real difference to someone’s life. Spending some time chatting or reading to somebody can provide them with valuable company. There are plenty of benefits for you, too. As well as doing something really positive, volunteering gives you the chance to make friends, meet new people, learn different skills and have something interesting to add to your CV.
Give some stuff
If you don’t have much in way of spare cash, have a look around your home and see what else you could spare. There are probably plenty of things that you don’t use any more that could be passed along to somebody else. Charity shops love donations of clothes and bric-a-brac, while your local hospital will be grateful for any books you can spare. You don’t even need to leave the house – many charities offer a clothes recycling collection service straight to your door.
Other useful items you could donate are old pairs of glasses, unwanted mobile phones and any computing equipment. If these are in good working order they can be reconditioned to use again, or can be recycled. The recent recession has also meant there is an increasingly large proportion of the population relying on food banks. You can donate via a supermarket scheme or just pop along to your nearest food bank with any tinned, dried or fresh food you can spare.
You might not have considered that you have plenty of other vital resources you can donate that can literally save lives. We would all expect blood to be available if we needed it so pay it forward now and donate yours. Most healthy people over the age of 17 can give blood several times a year. Find your local mobile unit and in just a few minutes you could have done something really worthwhile. You might choose to join the bone marrow donor register and also consider whether you would be willing to carry an organ donor card.
There are plenty of practical ways that you can help out others without spending a penny. Even if you don’t have any money to give, think about what else you could spare and help make a real difference.