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Sponsoring Hope: 5 Easy Ways to Donate to Cause You Care About
Are you feeling depressed? Try helping others. Research shows that giving to people in need is a way to feel socially connected—social connection wards off loneliness. But there are times when you can’t volunteer in person but still crave a way to offer support to others. Here are five easy ways to donate to causes you care about.
Credit Card Rewards Points
Your credit card points can do more than pay for your Christmas vacation in Dubai. Donate your points to a local charity using your credit card rewards. There are a variety of ways to do this depending on your card servicer. The first way is to redeem the points for a gift card and mail the gift card to the charity of your choosing. The second way is to redeem them as a donation to a preselected charity sponsored by the credit card company. If you’re lucky, there will be causes listed that you care about.
The downside is that these options are limited because they are chosen by the credit card company, not you. The easiest way to donate your rewards points is to redeem the points for a gift card, so you have control over your donation. It’s much faster and easier to use the credit card company’s setup, but you’ll miss the joy of connecting to your favorite place. Either method offers a great return on your investment in the end.
Your alma mater is waiting in the wings to be added to your will. Many giving campaigns at colleges and universities include the option to leave the institution in a will. They even have easy to complete signup forms for donors. This may or may not float your boat, but you can opt to leave money behind to charity when you pass away.
Consult with an attorney about how to properly direct a portion of your cash or life insurance policy to charity. It might be more expensive than other donation methods, but if you’ve got a substantial life insurance policy and no dependents, it could be the biggest charity move you’ll ever be able to make.
Decide if the cost of legal help is worth helping people beyond your wildest imagination. The average life insurance payout is around half a million if you get the recommended amount for your salary. This could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars contributed to a charity. Think of the number of people you could help by contributing such a large sum.
When looking for ways to donate, consider giving away a car, you no longer use. Many people think giving away a car has to mean a brand new vehicle. But charities accept junk cars as well. A junk car can be scrapped for cash ranging from a couple hundred to a thousand dollars.
You’re rarely giving a charity a car that can be used by an actual person. Think outside the box on how any other items in your home might be used to help out. For example, what about recreational vehicles or boats. Even boats with major mechanical issues offer the option of being used for parts.
So clear out your garage and donate the items you no longer need to your favorite charity. If they don’t have a vehicle donation system set up themselves, you can go through the process on your own and give it to those in need.
Donations don’t always happen in real-time. They don’t even have to happen all at once. One of the common ways to donate ongoing is through a pledge. A pledge means you plan to donate at some point and commit to a certain amount.
For example, you might pledge $100 to a charity when funds are low. As long as the organization receives the donation within the fiscal year, you get credit for the donation. Another way to pledge is to break up a larger donation into smaller payments. This works similarly to financing a loan, except there’s no fee to give. You can offer $5 a month in lieu of making a one-time payment of $60. You’ve just financed charity at no cost to yourself.
Adopt a Pet
Going out and donating your time to an organization is one of the top ways to donate. But what about opening up your home to strangers? If the stranger were cute and cuddly, that thought wouldn’t seem as horrifying. One of the ways to donate as an animal lover is to visit a local shelter.
There are likely hundreds of animals without homes in your area. Typically, you can meet the cat or dog before committing to take them home. It’s a great way to make sure you’re the right personality for the animal’s needs. You’re saving a life when you open up your home to the full-time commitment of an adopted pet. Use resources like SearchKibble to find local homeless shelters for animals in your area. Expect to fall in love many times over when you visit a shelter full of friendly animals.
Ways to Donate Where I Live
There are so many ways to donate that don’t involve mailing a check to your favorite charity. Get creative with your giving, so you expand your contribution. Money can be limited from time to time, but if you’re consistent with being resourceful, you can help many people and animals along the way. For more information and tips, visit our blog for updates.