If you’re looking for ways to give back to your friends, family, and community this season, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do so. There are many charitable organizations that require hard-earned cash to support their cause, but that’s not the only option you have! We’ve come up with a few good ways to help others without spending a dime.
1. The Gift of Time
Volunteering at your favorite organization, spending time with someone, lending a shoulder to cry on, or offering advice on life are some of the smallest, and most important ways to help others. There is nothing more fulfilling than being a beacon of hope or the voice of reason for someone who has hit rock bottom. Sometimes, all it takes are a few new ideas or new ways to look at life to change someone for the better. Be there for someone when they need it the most, and you’ll be surprised by how much your friendship and/or care for one another grows.
Haven’t seen your Great Aunt in a while? She’s not getting any younger, and neither are you. Spend time with the ones you love and make new memories that will span a lifetime. Life is short and unpredictable. You don’t want any thoughts of regret when the time comes and it’s too late to make amends.
2. The Gift of Support
When it comes to getting things done, nothing sends a message clearer than a growing number of supporters. If you discover a friend or family member has focused on a project to help better the community, change a law, or improve upon existing laws, offering to help spread the word and being a voice of the cause can be powerful testaments of character. Change.org is a petition website that allows the voice of the people, the voice of change, to be heard loud and clear. Petitions on Change.org helped a high school receive a $10,000 grant for their music department, tackled animal cruelty in the food industry, secured the health and wellness of school children in California, and demanded Congress pass legislation to protect children from sexual violence. Supporting petitions on Change.org require little time, but the impact is tenfold. Lending your support in the form of a signature and a share on social media is a great way to help people and organizations find justice and/or improve the world, and it doesn’t cost a dime.
3. The Gift of Education
A solid education is one of the most important gifts you could give anyone, and it will last a lifetime. Anyone who knows a thing or two about anything has the ability to teach others. You don’t have to be master at your craft, you just have to be willing to grow and expand upon what you already know. Put your scrap-booking, mechanical, electrical, designer, etc. skills to great use by sharing them with another.
We live in the era of meetups, the new form of Wednesday Night Book Club Meetings, a time in which people of every trade and skill gather together to improve upon and discuss ideas with each other, enjoy an event together, and even participate in sports or performance together. If you find you have the time and a skill or trade you would like to share with others, host a meetup in your community. Meetup.com, a website that allows people in a community to share, learn, or do something together, is a great way to meet new people and improve the livelihood of those in your community, and perhaps even yourself.
4. The Gift of Entertainment
Whether you favor vocal, dramatic, or instrumental arts, sharing your talents through performance is a wonderful and memorable way to lift the spirits of others. You can perform a well-known or self-written song with a group or solo, it just depends on how you want to present. You could act out a few scenes of a play or share a story with a friend. If you’re looking to create a memorable and personalized gift, write a poem or a song for your recipient, design a graphic or fuse with imagery, and frame it!
5. The Gift of Food & Beverage
This one requires a bit of prep-work, but if you’re handy with baked goods and hearty meals, creating a tasty dish for a loved one or stranger is a heart-felt way to show support. Put those pantry items to work and bake your favorite recipes, including cakes, cookies, casseroles, meatloaf, and more! Wrap it up in one-time-use aluminum serveware/bakeware and gift the dish to those in need, family, or friends. If you are really feeling generous, invite your recipient over for a full home-cooked meal. You’ll be building new memories and savoring a flavor or two!