Giving when you have nothing may seem like an impossible ideal. However, what if there were ways you could make a positive impact on the world without any financial limitations?
It’s totally possible to give, even when you don’t have any money. The power of compassion is not limited, even when your pockets are empty, your heart can be brimming with generosity.
Sometimes, life throws us curveballs, and our budgets shrink to the bare necessities. Heck, sometimes the bare necessities are even juggled and prioritized so that we can get by to the next month.
Here’s the wonderful truth: you don’t need a hefty bank account to sow the seeds of kindness. In fact, some of the most meaningful acts of giving arise from creativity, determination, and a strong desire to make your community a better place.
Give back, regardless of the digits in your bank account.
Giving When You Have Nothing (or at least when you think you have nothing):
Donate your time
You know what’s great about your time? It’s free. It doesn’t cost a single dime.
Sure, “time is money”. If you aren’t working, you might not be making money. However, if you have a desire to give back, then I bet you can find an afternoon or an evening somewhere to make an impact.
If you have time to watch reels or scroll for an hour, you have time to give back, if that’s something you’ve been wanting to do but are not sure how to make it happen.
How to donate your time
There are numerous ways you can donate your time, and they aren’t limited to the ideas below. Keep your eyes and ears open. Sometimes opportunities fall into our laps when we are least expecting them. Sometimes, we have to go looking for them. Don’t doubt your value though. You have skills, and people and organizations need you.
Volunteer at a local charity
There are so many organizations that need the donation of time and energy.
Find an organization that you are passionate to serve and offer an hour or two a week, month, or even quarter. Every bit of time counts, and it’s a perfect way to give back, even if you have a tight budget.
Offer your skills and expertise
Maybe you are a busy mama, but you can whip up dinner on a moment’s notice and from the most random ingredients. This is an incredible skill!
Reach out to your church, a shelter, or anywhere else that provides meals and see if you can donate your time and skillset. Ask them if you can bring your kids to help too. Some charities won’t let you bring your kids, but some will.
We’ve cooked dinners for a local church. We bring the kids, they get to eat the meal we prepare (easy night for mom), and they help set up, serve, and clean up the meal.
If you are a master of Facebook or Instagram, maybe you can help a local charity manage its social media page, even without formal training.
Get creative. You can be good at anything and turn that skill into a gift for those who need it.
Share Your Knowledge
Another way to give back is to share your knowledge. Believe it or not, many of us have knowledge others need. This is a wonderful way to give even when you don’t have the money to donate right now.
Volunteer as a tutor
There are many schools and after-school programs that need tutors. Our children have always needed our help, but after the pandemic, it seems some of them are in a constant state of trying to catch up.
If you can read, you can help. You don’t have to be a teacher or have formal training to help a child learn. Many children simply need an adult’s time and patience with a subject so they can move forward. Check out the Boys and Girls Club in your area if you need ideas.
Also, don’t be afraid of the “new math”. If you can walk into a store and immediately compute the percentage off of a clearance item, then you’ve got skills someone else needs.
Sometimes, your volunteering as a tutor may come from the most unlikely of situations. My youngest daughter used to take martial arts lessons. Every night, while I waited on her, I found myself waiting next to the cutest little first grader. He was always doing his math homework during that time, and he was never shy about asking for help. I helped teach him to round to the nearest ten for a week. I didn’t need formal training for this.
Teach a class
Maybe you don’t have money to give right now, but you are passionate about a subject. You could enjoy a certain subject in the Bible and want to teach a Sunday School class at your church. You may be a master canner, and you could coordinate a canning class for those trying to grow a garden.
Look for opportunities to share your knowledge. You don’t need a fancy degree or a fat bank account to give back and teach.
Practice random acts of kindness
Another way to give back when you are broke is to simply practice random acts of kindness. Paying it forward when others least expect it can literally transform someone else’s day, and it doesn’t have to cost you a dime.
Help a neighbor in need: help them mend their fence, watch their kids while they go on a date night, or simply reach out and tell them you are available. So many neighbors don’t talk to each other anymore!
We need to expand our communities and lean on each other when times are tough! Your random acts of kindness may open that door to a neighbor you always needed.
Declutter for a cause
One of my favorite ways to give back when you have no money is by getting rid of your clutter! If you have clutter, you are blessed. It’s a simple truth. Clutter is excess.
Look for thrift stores, shelters, churches, or any other organization in your area that serves a cause you can get behind, and then donate your excess clutter to them.
If you have gently used blankets, a homeless shelter or women’s shelter may be able to use them. Even if the blankets are more than gently used, a local pet shelter may enjoy having them.
When I quit my corporate job, I had an excess of business blazers that were just collecting dust in my closet. I was able to donate them to a group that helps women prepare for interviews when they are without a job.
You can also participate in clothing drives, especially in the winter when winter coats and winter gear are needed for the cold days and nights.
Make the most of your resources
Finally, if giving back is important to you, even when you have nothing left to give, keep working on finding ways to budget for it, whether it’s with your time or your money.
One way to do this is to create a line item in your budget for giving. It doesn’t have to be much or a certain percentage. However, when you have a line item in your budget, it reminds you that it’s important so that it doesn’t become forgotten.
Giving when you have nothing to give
In the end, giving without money is a testament to the incredible strength of the human spirit. While financial constraints may limit our options, they can never limit our capacity for compassion.
Remember, a kind word, a helping hand, or a generous heart can change lives, leaving an unforgettable mark on the world. Embrace the power of non-monetary giving and continue making a difference, one selfless act at a time.