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Ways to Give When You Don’t have Much Money to Spare

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. Try to be a little creative when coming up with your donation options. For example, many people are now donating their boat for charity. This is perfect for anyone whose boat is taking up space in the garage or on the front lawn. Not only does it allow you to free up some room on your property, but charitable boat donation can also be used as a significantly large tax write-off. Anyone with a boat should consider this option, because these are just a few of the additional benefits that go with donating your boat to a charitable organization.

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?

7 thoughts on “Ways to Give When You Don’t have Much Money to Spare”

  1. Rob

    Give blood!

  2. Michelle

    I want to start volunteering. I need to get off my butt and do it!

  3. KC @ genxfinance

    Sometimes, helping doesn’t always mean money. Sometimes, it means giving your time. Volunteering and going random act of kindness can change a person’s life.

  4. In meaningful ways of volunteering, I find that I take a great deal of positivity from it. Look for face-to-face, person-based volunteering jobs. Great to see this post.

  5. krantcents

    Personally, I enjoy volunteering much more than just writing a check. I know all organization always need money, but they also need help the form of volunteers. There is a tremendous feeling when you can help by giving your time.

  6. Amanda L Grossman

    @Rob: Giving blood is a great idea!

    @Michelle: You and me both. I would love to find a charity that grabs my attention…I need to think about this one. In the past I have done habitat for humanity and used to love that work.

    @krantcents: Absolutely! It is good for both the giver and the receiver.

  7. Anton Ivanov

    I’ve come up with random acts of kindness and volunteering on my own, but never heard of the other two. Great suggestions! And you can always earn and save more, invest wisely, build your wealth and then be able to give lots of it away to charities.

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