During the holiday season, there are abundant opportunities to donate goods, money and services to charitable causes. We all want to give as much as we can, but some years, it can feel a little overwhelming. How do you help others without overstretching your own budget? With Thanksgiving in mind, I’ve developed a list of volunteer opportunities and advice for making manageable donations without harming your finances.
We all have different goals and budgets but when it comes to numbers, there’s one that we all have in common – 24 hours in a day. Donating your time is a great option if money is tight. There are many charitable organizations that would welcome a strong back or willing bodies to volunteer, especially during the busy holiday season.
For example, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City often needs meal volunteers and greeters. This is also an awesome opportunity to get your children involved.
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Do you have a special ability or participate in a hobby that could be helpful to others? If so, put your skills to good use! One of the organizations I love to volunteer for is Habitat for Humanity. Not that I am especially handy in this area, but I can definitely hang sheetrock with the best of them. I’ve also been known to volunteer some financial coaching from time to time, too.
Make a list of your own abilities and match up those skills to causes that ignite your passion. Remember, gestures matter. Even something as simple as reading children’s books at the public library or helping with crafts at an assisted living home can make a difference in the lives of others.
Organizations still need money to function so while time and talents are helpful, “treasure” is still necessary. If there is an organization that’s near and dear to your heart, consider having a coin drive at your office. It’s as simple as placing a jar in the break room and attaching a note asking for spare change. A few handfuls of change a day can really add up! Alternatively, consider taking your gently used clothes, electronics or kids’ items to the consignment shop and donating the proceeds.
The most important aspect of giving isn’t how much – it’s simply following your heart to make a difference. It’s the surest way to not only give back, but also to give thanks. Happy Thanksgiving!
Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click http://twitter.com/savinmavens or visit http://communityamerica.com.