5 ways to be charitable in the New Year

5 ways to be charitable in the New Year

If you're committed to making this year the one you start giving back, here are five ways to start being more philanthropic.

5 ways to be charitable in the New Year

1. Donate goods

Local charitable organizations -- from churches to daycare centres -- collect used goods and either pass them along to the needy or sell the items to raise funds for various causes.

Don't forget to empty your closet. Clothing donations of warm weather clothes such as sweaters, jackets, hats and gloves, are particularly useful to those who would otherwise go without. The general rule is that if you haven't worn something in one year, it's time to let it go.

2. Donate time

From checking in on an elderly neighbour to volunteering to read to toddlers at a local daycare, there are endless ways to donate your time to those around you. While making this contribution costs nothing, the benefits are huge. One of the things people need most is human contact, and these interactions can be a lifeline for someone feeling isolated or alone.

3. Donate services

You can offer help in the form of professional services. Are you a graphic designer? Web designer? Writer? Accountant? If so, organizations are in critical need of help from people just like you.

Whether you update a non-profit's website, create a new logo, write a grant proposal or handle the books, you can donate valuable operating support to an organization in need.

4. Give life

Donations of blood, plasma and bone marrow are essential, and supplies often run critically low. While these do require varying degrees of medical intervention, they all have a life-saving impact on the recipients and their families.

You can also sign up to be an organ donor. It's as simple as checking a box on a form, and a single organ donation can save up to eight lives!

5. Walk, run, bike, swim

Every weekend there are charity events which combine a fundraising component with a race. Ask friends and family members to support the cause by sponsoring you to cover any entry fee. Whether you walk 3.5 kilometres or bike 50 kilometres, you can make a difference while getting fit and doing something you love.

Just because you can't write a giant check doesn't mean you can't resolve to be more charitable in the new year. These five techniques cost nothing, yet have life-changing potential for the people they benefit.

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