Frugal Philanthropy

By Stew

I used to work in the fundraising department of a non-profit organization and we focused on developing two types of givers: the type who had the ability to give a large gift on one or two occasions and the people who gave smaller, but regular donations – $25 a month or $100 once a year. But what about those of us who cannot even afford to give any money at all? While I faithfully give to my church, there are other charitable efforts to which I would like to give, but I simply do not have the money.

Philanthropists fascinate me. I often think about what kind of charitable efforts I would support if I had so much money that I could be one of those big donors – the kind who can change an inner-city school overnight or like the man who used to fund all of the Christmas bonuses for the over 200 employees of a non-profit organization. But I digress, I will probably never be put in that situation. However, it is important for all of us to look for ways to help those less fortunate than us. Even though some of us might not be blessed with a great deal of cash, we can still develop an attitude of giving. Here are some ways to be a philanthropist without money:

Serve food

There are all kinds of charities that can use people like you to serve food to the hungry and homeless or to do the dishes or to clean up afterward. Many of these groups do not need your money, they just need your energy. I enjoy serving at the Denver Street School from time to time.

Give clothing

If you are like me, you might purchase most of your clothes second-hand, but maybe your children have clothes out of which they have grown – or maybe you just lost a lot of weight and have some duds that you can no longer wear. You can give your used, but still nice clothes to organizations who re-sell the items and use the proceeds for all kinds of charitable endeavors. We give most of ours to Goodwill.

Give hair

If you have long hair, why not think about donating it to the Locks of Love organization? The hair that you donate must be clean and at least ten inches long. Your hair will grow back and the stuff that you normally throw away will be used to make life a little easier for a child with a serious illness.

Give blood

Donating blood can be one of the most unselfish acts that a person can carry out. All the money in the world cannot help car accident victims or those in need of serious surgery without this life-sustaining fluid. A donation of one pint of blood has the potential to save three lives. The American Red Cross is the best place to get more information.

As we go into a holiday weekend that is intended to remember those who gave their lives for the cause of freedom, I hope you will take a moment to think of a way that you can give for others.

Article by Stew

Photo by dbking

3 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Frugal Philanthropy”

  1. Hope to Prosper Says:

    I have been thinking a lot about giving lately. I have a goal of giving 10% in a couple of years, but I’m not quite there yet. In the mean time, I know some people who could use a little help. Maybe next year, I will be ready for that goal.

  2. MeanyGoat Says:

    Great post, keep up the good work. Checkout for other frugal ideas and tips.

  3. Fru-gal Lisa Says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for mentioning blood donations! My father’s life was saved thanks to someone who gave blood. There is nothing that will substitute for blood and often when someone needs a transfusion, they’ll die if they don’t get one. I am a regular donor and let me assure you, giving blood doesn’t hurt — especially when you think of the patient you’ll be helping. Please consider giving blood every 56 days, and especially before a 3 day holiday (more traffic accidents/injuries) and in the summer and the holiday season. I recommend you call your local hospital(s) and ask which blood center supplies their blood and support that one.