In mid-January, it’s tough to remember to pay it forward when credit cards emit steam from overuse during the holidays and cash flow is limited. Kindness often has a December 31 expiration and it takes a few months to build up all that good cheer again. The ultimate giver, Mother Teresa said, “It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.” To that end, we’ve compiled a list of five ways to give more from the heart and less from the wallet.
During the holidays, the American Red Cross often sees a sharp decline in donors because people are busy traveling, shopping, and gathering with friends and family. The blood shortage from November to December often creates an urgent need for all blood types in January. If your blood type is O, you are strongly encouraged to donate because O type blood can be given to anyone, even if their blood type is unknown.
Coat and Blanket Drive
In many states, frigid winter weather lasts until March and for those of us in Kansas, the cold snap can linger until mid-April. Look for city-wide coat and blanket drives in your area, or check with your favorite dry cleaner to see if they offer a donation service. Animal shelters and veterinary clinics may also welcome the donation of clean blankets for fur babies.
Rockstar Community Fund
Philanthropic professionals, Jay Monee and Nate St. Pierre recently created the Rockstar Community Fund (RCF), an organization, nay – a movement, that offers several opportunities to, “go out and do good in your community every month.” The website currently offers three initiatives, “Giving Cards Project,” “Debt Drop,” and “Just-in-Time Giving Pot.” In December, RCF gave away fifty $20 gift cards to people who promised to brighten someone’s day with the funds and then report back about what they did. They generated so much excitement, most of the gifters put money with the gift cards bumping up the total amount given to an impressive $1,935.00.
Habitat for Humanity
Meaningful giving that doesn’t cost a dime, just a bit of your time. Habitat for Humanity is a global organization seeking to provide safe affordable housing. Habitat families work alongside volunteers to build and/or restore their homes and agree to pay an affordable mortgage. Local Habitat affiliates coordinate build projects where community members can volunteer to help. If you can swing a hammer or hold a paint brush, you’re invited to sign up. Professional contractors are always onsite to supervise and give instruction.
With Amazon Smile, you can donate to your favorite 501(c)(3) organization just by shopping for your favorite items. To start donating with Amazon Smile, simply sign up for the program, choose from over one million participating charities and then click away. For each eligible purchase, 0.5% of the total price will be given to your designated organization or charity.
Remember, kindness is contagious, and it really doesn’t take much to lend a hand. Heap praise on a colleague, give a stranger a compliment, or buy coffee for the person in line behind you. Even when money is tight, if you look for opportunities to pay it forward, you will always find a way.