Tuesday, May 4, 2010

5 Easy Ways to Give

I'm on a mission - I want everyone to start donating. You really don't have to sacrifice very much to make a difference. Here are a few easy ways to give back to your local community:

Hotel soaps
1) Take those little soaps, lotions, and shampoo/conditioner from your hotel room (or spa, if those things are provided) and donate them to a local shelter. Take the slippers, too!
Many of us take a hot shower for granted, and shelters always need things like soap and shampoo. It helps to make someone feel a little more human for one day and isn't a big deal for you to carry home.

2) I'm sure you have lots of perfectly good clothes in your closet that you no longer wear. Do NOT throw them in the garbage! There are lots of second-hand stores that will take them. So will churches, and some cities have drop-off bins at grocery stores. There are even some associations that will pick up stuff from your house. Grab a large bag and go through your stuff every few months. It will free up your space and help someone else.

3) Are you a coupon cutter? If you're already cutting coupons for yourself, cut out the ones for products you don't need and donate them to a food bank. It will help keep their costs down and it really doesn't take that much time to do. You can mail in any coupons you don't use, especially ones for diapers and formula.

4) Set aside a day a month for volunteer time. One day a month, that's all I'm asking! There are plenty of places one can volunteer at as a "one-off" - no on-going commitment necessary. Look for art festivals, fund-raisers or soup kitchens. These little opportunities also benefit you by giving you something extra to put on your resume, and also getting you out and meeting people. Single people - what better place to meet a great person than at a charity event, huh? Makes a fun next date!

Make it Automatic
5) Set up an automatic giving program with the charity of your choice. Most big charities now take pre-authorized bank debits, as well as monthly credit card debits. If you set up a monthly plan, it can be as low as $5. a month and not hurt your budget.

If you've got it, give it and everyone has a little something to give. You'll see in the long run, the more you give, the more you get back. It's that simple!

**What about you? Do you have any simple tips to get other people donating? Comment and let me know.