How to Donate to Charity on a Budget

Michael Lefler
by Michael Lefler
Published: January 24, 2020

If you live on a tight budget, you know what it is like to be in financial need. This can ignite a desire to help others when you can. But therein lies the financial challenge. How do you donate to charity when you may have a hard time making ends meet?

It is possible to give to others even when you live with limited means. In this guide, we’ll help you help others on a budget.

Why Give to Charity?

Why donate to charity when you have a need? Here are a few reasons to consider.

Giving to charity is a way to pay it forward when you have good months. Next time you have a bad month, maybe someone else will be willing to help you during one of their better months. And even when you think that nobody would come to help you and you feel yourself one-to-one with a problem, there is a way out, after all. Resort to a short-term loan to overcome a difficult period of your life.

Giving can be an emotionally satisfying experience. It feels great to help out someone who needs it. So, giving is good even from a selfish standpoint.

You may have items you do not need. A lot of the world’s scarcity issues aren’t so much a reflection of a lack of material resources so much as the poor distribution of goods.

Can You Still Give to Charity on a Tight Budget?

It is still possible to donate to charity even if you are on a budget. Many donations are tax-deductible, so check into that if you want to donate financially.

But even if you cannot afford substantial financial donations, there are still other ways that you can give to those in need.

What if You Can’t Afford to Give?

Volunteer donates his time to charity

Donate your time

If you barely have the funds to take care of yourself, your first obligation is to yourself and your immediate family. But that doesn’t stop you from giving in other ways, for example, by volunteering your time at a local charity. Even if all you can spare are a few hours now and again, others will be grateful for your help.

Donate your stuff

Another way you can give is by donating items you do not need or want and which somebody else could use.

If you decide to turn your clutter into a donation, you should research to find specific organizations that work to get your items to where they need to be. If you just take your stuff to the thrift store, there is a really good chance it will end up in a landfill.

Buy less, spend, and invest in a socially responsible way, and save more.

Something else you can do to give is to change your habits and avoid bad financial decisions. You can stop contributing to a consumer economy that generates waste by purchasing less, and you can research to buy from companies that donate part of their proceeds to charities. You can also look for socially responsible investment funds.

Donate medically

Another way that you can give is to donate your renewable resources such as blood or plasma. Regardless of your location, there should be regular opportunities to do both. This type of donation costs you nothing but time and can potentially help save lives.

Donor is donating his blood

Even a few dollars count

Many people think they cannot afford financially to donate because they can only contribute a few dollars to a cause. But many donation platforms record the average donation size, and you will notice that it is quite frequently under $10. This proves that even a few dollars can make a huge difference if enough people contribute. Consider earning money from a hobby, you may not earn a lot of money, at least at the beginning, but your donation can matter a lot.

Promote donation campaigns

If you cannot afford to donate directly to a campaign, you can always share it on social media. If you get the word out to enough people, that could bring in more donations than you could have made on your own.


Another way that you can give is to vote for politicians and policies working toward eliminating poverty. Doing so ultimately may help reduce the need for charitable giving.

Your Giving Plan

A person is donating his charity fund

If you do decide to give financially, you will want to come up with a giving plan to fit into your budget.

1. Pick your donation opportunities.

Coming up with a plan starts with choosing charities to give to. How do you determine the best charities to give to?

If you are wondering how to check out a charity before you donate, you can research with the help of sites such as Charity Navigator or the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. These sites let you check the reputations and measurable impact of charities so that you can be sure that your money will not go to waste.

2. Build a charity fund.

Next, you need to figure out your budgeting for charity. Some people contribute a lump sum at the end of the year, but you may find it easier to donate a smaller amount monthly. That way, you are less likely to fall behind on your charity goals.

You also could set aside a small amount each month so that you have the money waiting to donate as a more considerable lump sum at the end of the year. If you use this method, subtract that amount when you run your budget each month so that you think of the money as “spent.” This will prevent you from using it on something else.

Conclusion: Even on a Budget, You Can Make an Impact

Charity giving can change the world

Coming up with a charity budget can be a challenge when you are living on a tight budget yourself, but as you can see, giving to charity is still possible.

You now know how to donate to charity in terms of finances, items, and time. No matter how much or how little you have for yourself, there are things you can do to give to those in need.

Hopefully, one day we will live in a world where nobody wants for their basic needs and doesn’t have to borrow money through bad credit loans just to survive till the next payday. But until then, donating for charity is a way to help others stay afloat while experiencing for yourself the joy that comes with giving.

Mike has a wide range of interests which includes sports, but he discovered years ago that he’s better at writing than playing on the field. Being a great team player makes him a valuable part of the writing team as he shares valuable knowledge regarding Business Administration.

His wisdom can be trusted thanks to his years of study and his Masters Degree obtained at Southwest Minnesota State University.

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