Ideas to Raise Money for Charity

Think giving back is only for those with money? Then think again. Here are five great ideas to raise money for charity.  You can live the life of a philanthropist without spending a dime:

Surveys
Filling out online surveys is a great way to earn prizes or extra spending money, but it's also a great way to earn money to help others. Since many of the survey companies now allow you to cash in your survey points for a donation to one of several large, nationally known charities, you can turn your time and opinions into a way to help others.

To increase your earning potential, sign up at numerous survey sites and participate in surveys often. You should also be careful not to rule out a survey company just because it doesn't allow you to use your points for donations. A large number of survey companies offer cash rewards, and that's money that could be directed to your favorite local charity. Even companies that only offer prizes could be used to help others. Use your points to get a magazine subscription for a nearby nursing home, phone cards for soldiers overseas or toys for a children's home or hospital. With a little creativity, the possibilities are endless.

Rebates and coupons
Combine rebates and coupons with sales prices, and you've got the perfect recipe for free groceries and beauty products. It's a great strategy for saving money, but also a great strategy for helping others. To turn your shopping trips into a philanthropic affair, get in the habit of looking for free offers on products that your family doesn't use (canned soups and veggies, shampoo, soap, toilet paper, deodorant, etc.). Then donate your bounty to a local food pantry, homeless shelter, women's shelter, adopt-a-family or any other charity that might need these items.

To build up your donation stash even faster, consider including some or all of the free product samples that you receive at the store or in the mail. These items may just be clutter in your home, but to someone less fortunate they could mean the difference between good hygiene and no hygiene.

Yard sales
When bills claim most, if not all, of your take home pay, it can be difficult to come up with the money needed to help the people in your community. Fortunately your bank account isn't the only place to look for this money. To make a significant monetary donation to your favorite charity, look to a yard sale instead. With the sacrifice of a single Saturday you can clear your house of old and unused items and turn the resulting proceeds into a charity donation. It's a great way to help others without hurting your own finances. Plus, as a reward for your good deed, you'll enjoy a cleaner, less cluttered house.

To maximize your yard sale earnings, consider adding curb shopping to your routine. Too often people throw away items that are in good condition, simply because they do not want to deal with the hassle of having a yard sale or making a trip to the thrift store. If you live in an area where these items are left at the curb for the trash service to pick up, they're probably fair game. Just make sure there aren't any laws against curb shopping in your area. Drive around and pick up any items that are easily sellable, (exercise equipment, furniture, children's toys, bikes, etc.) and add them to your yard sale stash. By doing so, you'll be adding to your sale's earning potential while keeping useful items out of the landfill-truly a win-win situation for everyone.

Recycling
Scrap metal is another great source for donation money when your bank account is bare. Just get your family together and walk along roadways and parking lots to pick up discarded soda cans and other recycleable materials. Then crush all of your collected cans and carry them in to a recycling center that pays for aluminum. By doing so, you'll earn the extra money that you need to support your chosen charity, while teaching your family the importance of protecting the environment-definitely another win-win situation.

Change jar
Take a walk in your neighborhood, and you're likely to find at least a penny. Go to the store and you'll probably find another on the floor or in the parking lot. It's really amazing how careless people can be with money. Fortunately, you can turn others' waste into another's windfall. Get in the habit of picking up change any time you find it, and then deposit it into a jar. Before long you'll have a sizeable coin collection that can be rolled and donated to a charity, and it won't cost you anything more than your time.

You don't need to have money to help others. Put your creativity to work, and you'll find lots of no-cost ways to make a difference.

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