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Give to Charity Without Touching Your Own Money

To everyone who called because I haven’t written lately: Thank you, I’m okay! Truth is, I’ve been preoccupied shopping, wrangling work, and planning an out-of-state move. But today, I saw a Salvation Army bell ringer (some of whom, incidentally, now accept credit cards). It reminded me to forget all the selfish stuff for a moment. Charities feel the recession, too; all the more reason to help however we can. And, as it turns out, you don’t have to fork over your own hard-earned cash to make a difference.


The tried and true way to pitch in when you’re penniless yourself is to volunteer. It could be a local soup kitchen, hospital, or action group. I’ve worked previously with of the Hands On Network, which helps links volunteers with projects nationwide.

Donate your frequent flyer miles

Many airlines (including Continental, Delta, and United) allow you to donate unused frequent flyer miles to a number of charities; a great way to give without missing the money.

Shop for a cause

A number of “charity shopping portals” chip into a cause with every purchase you make. Check out one The Hunger Site Store, iGive, and OneCause.

Sell some stuff for charity

While you can always take your unused clothes and other household items to Goodwill or other charitable thrift stores, you can also clean out your attic on eBay or Craigslist and give some or all of your proceeds away.

Do you have a way of giving that doesn’t involve giving your own cash?

Published or updated on December 10, 2008

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About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.


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  1. Appreciate the info guys, thanks

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