Being a philanthropist and trying to drive for real change in suffering communities is a difficult and often expensive task. Many people in the lower and middle-income classes strive to help out groups in need but struggle to do so themselves due to tighter budget concerns. Giving to a good cause or those less fortunate than yourself doesn’t need to be difficult though. Even when living on a smaller budget, it’s still possible to make a difference in people’s lives. Here are a few great ways to be charitable while living on a budget. 

Figure Out Your Finances

As badly as you may want to go out there and make a difference in the lives of less fortunate individuals and communities, you need to start by figuring out where you stand financially. It’s important you figure out if you can afford to donate to a good cause and how much you can actually give. While it’s noble to want to help those in need, you need to be careful you don’t sell yourself short. It’s also not a bad idea to talk to a qualified tax professional to see if they have any advice for you, as you can often get a tax deduction when donating.

Do Your Research

Sometimes charities take more than just money. If you don’t have the budget to give them any of your own cash, see if there are any specific physical items they’re taking, such as food or clothes. Many people have old clothes that are no longer being used, and it’s better to give them to people who can actually utilize them as opposed to just throwing them out. Be sure to double-check what they’re looking for though, as bringing them items they’re not looking for often leads to wasting the time of both staff and volunteers. Sometimes charities are looking for volunteers as well. If you don’t have anything you can donate to a group, they can most likely use you in some type of volunteer capacity. 

Go Small

A great way to give back is by thinking small. Ask family members or your children who may want to get involved if they’re willing to participate in fundraising or gift matching activities for a charity you’re passionate about. If you’re still short on cash and aren’t sure of ways you can make a difference, pick up a phone or send an email to the charity and ask if they accept items or services that will help them continue to operate. These often include gift cards or supplies that they can use in the office, making their day to day operations a little smoother. Depending on what you’re good at, you may be able to provide them services such as designing a website providing troubleshooting skills for technology. This allows you to help while also learning a little bit more about how your favorite nonprofit and many others operate.