Sometimes the budget doesn’t allow you to give back as much as you’d like. After all, you only have so much. Regularly donating cash, clothing, and time is a great habit to get into, but today there are more, better ways to embrace this charitability. If limited funds are the only thing holding you back, take heart in knowing you can benefit your favorite nonprofit without cutting another check. Here are eight donation ideas you may not have considered:
1. Airline Miles and Hotel Points
Travel expenses for grassroots organizations can be prohibitive, which often means directors of nonprofits miss meetings. This can lead to a less productive workflow and lower morale, too, according to a study by Oxford Economics. So, give your favorite charity a call to ask if they’d appreciate your accrued rewards.
Want to donate miles or points directly to people instead of a charitable organization? Nonprofits like the Make a Wish Foundation take the air miles you donate and give them directly to families that need them.
2. Used Computers
Donating your old computer or tablet to a nonprofit is a huge help. Some charities could use the extra connection, whereas organizations like Project Reboot in Maryland refurbish these old machines and put them back to good use in the community. More than 90 percent of the computers they refurbish are given to families with school-aged children, so you know you made a real difference for the next generation.
3. Real Estate
Sometimes your non-liquid assets benefit kids more than anyone. Kars4Kids is famous for taking used cars off the hands of owners who don’t want old reliable to go to waste. But did you know they also accept houses, vacant lots, commercial spaces, condos, and even land? Whether you want to get out of a timeshare, offer up space for the ChillZone program, or donate a property that can be sold, Kars4Kids can make it happen.
4. Old Cell Phones
Secure the Call is a nonprofit that connects local seniors with used mobile devices so they’re never more than a call away from help. You can support their work by locating the nearest collection barrel or hosting your own phone drive to get others on board.
5. Your Hair
If you already need a trip the salon, you may be a good candidate to become a hair donor. Kids love this option above other donation ideas because their hair is often made for wigs that go to other children who need it. It’s also a favorite of busy moms who don’t have time to locate a collection center, as your hair can often be mailed in.
6. Your Opinion
Organizations want to know what you value, how you make decisions, and which options you prefer. In fact, they’re willing to pay for it. When I have a few minutes I take surveys for SurveyMonkey, and they donate hard cash to a good cause in return.
Your opinion and creativity can go even further nearby. If you’re an endless fountain of ideas, you know what it’s like to crave a tangible outlet. The solution? Offer up your zealous, thoughtful, progressive, and even quirky ideas to your local philanthropic outreach center. You may even find you’re a great candidate for the nonprofit’s board of directors!
7. A Great Reference
Offer shining job references to people you’ve worked with before. Be vocal about your offer to young people just starting out. College kids who have hauled your junk or teens who babysit your kids benefit from a well-crafted, unique reference that only you can provide. Write glowing reviews on local businesses where you’ve had a good experience. Be generous with your praise; you know how appreciated these efforts are from personal experience, and it’s eternally rewarding to turn around and offer the same thing.
8. Shares of Stock
If the mere thought of donating stocks overwhelms you, don’t worry—it intimidated me at first, too. Thankfully you don’t need to become a financial expert to make a positive difference. Your broker knows exactly what to do, and some nonprofits, like Heifer International, have details online explaining the process. Donating stocks is preferable to selling off and donating the cash because you won’t pay as high capital gains tax, and your beneficiary nonprofit receives more. Check your favorite charity’s website to get started.
What are some other things to donate you may have originally overlooked? Tweet your most creative donation ideas to @TomsofMaine.
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.