It’s a common misconception that the only way to give back to your community is by donating money. The fact of the matter is, there are many ways to be philanthropic on a microcosmic level for little to no cost. Think about it like this: if donating money helps a cause on a high-level by providing an organization with the funds to start philanthropic programs, for example, then acting philanthropically without giving money consists of helping other people on more of a one-to-one basis, instead of in the abstract. Here are 3 ways that you can be charitable in your day-to-day life without breaking the bank.
1) Donate blood: Donating blood is a simple and effective way to make a difference. Blood products are used by hospitals every day to save lives, so there is a constant need for new donations regardless of where you live. Research your local hospital’s blood donation program and find out what the process is for becoming a donor – not only will you feel better for having contributed a valuable resource to your hospital, but you’ll be helping members of your community in the most important way you can: by helping to save their lives.
2) Bring baked goods to your local firehouse: The men and women who fight fires across the country put their lives on the line each and every day, but much of their bravery and nobility often goes unnoticed. Bringing homemade cookies to your local firehouse is a great way to show that you appreciate everything that firefighters do to make your community a better and safer place to live, and it will mean a lot to them to know you’re thinking of them.
3) Talk to strangers: The next time you see someone eating alone at a restaurant, consider asking if you can sit with them while you eat. It’s easy to forego social interaction at the end of a long day, but sometimes, all it takes is a conversation to make someone feel less lonely. This plays into the idea of helping on a one-to-one level: small gestures of kindness can often mean the most.
There are many more ways to help your community philanthropically without spending money, and if you start by doing these three things, you’ll undoubtedly find that opportunities for making a difference present themselves more regularly than you ever realized before. Good luck!
***This post originally appeared on my philanthropy blog at DavidTFischer.net.