Don’t Be a Scrooge: Everyday Ways To Be More Charitable in 2023

Even with rising inflation rates, Americans are still finding room to be charitable. While many popular New Year's resolutions are focused on changing yourself and your personal situation – exercise more, lose weight, spend less, a growing number of people are resolving to give back.

Being more charitable was among the top ten New Year’s resolutions last year. And it’s no wonder why. Giving back to others is one of the most rewarding things you can do.

A recent study by Tracking Happiness found that people who commit to raising money for charity are generally the happiest. You can not only make a difference in the lives of others, but you’ll also find yourself happier in the process.

There are simple ways to be more charitable in your everyday life. And it doesn’t have to cost you anything, either. It’s a resolution you’ll be glad you made.

Make Generosity a Habit

You don’t need to be rich to be a generous person. You can start by giving up some of your time to volunteer.

If you’re like the 14.5% of people surveyed by Tracking Happiness last year, volunteering and doing charity work is one of your goals for the following year. It doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment. Regularly giving up an hour or two of your time can make a big difference. It also teaches you new skills and introduces you to new people.

Raising money for charities is another popular way (11.1%) to show your generosity and increase your happiness. The resolution is also broken the least, with a 70% success rate.

You don’t need to give a large amount of money to make a difference. Leave a dollar in the donation box at the grocery store check-out line whenever you see one. Better yet, donate $5 or $10 each time if you can. You will likely not miss this small amount of money, and it will help someone tremendously.

Start by making small changes. Before you know it, generosity will become second nature.

Follow Charities on Social Media

If you’d like to stay up to date with your favorite charity or are curious to learn more about them, start by simply following them on social media.

Not only will this keep the charity in your thoughts, but you’ll also be the first to know about any events or fundraisers they may be hosting and when they require volunteers or donations.

What's more, with a simple click of a button, you can share the event and need with all of your followers. It's literally the easiest way to help a charitable organization, and raise awareness.

Find a Cause That Matters – to You

You won’t stick to a cause if you’re not interested in it. So what do you care about? It may be the environment, animals, children, veterans, poverty, homelessness, injustice, education and literacy, access to clean water, human rights, accessibility, immigration, discrimination, or bullying. There are many to choose from.

Did you have a strong reaction to any of these suggestions? That’s a good indication of where to start.

Choose Charities Carefully

Before you donate your time, and more importantly, your money, to a particular charity, check to make sure it’s a legitimate organization. Many scammers are trying to take advantage of your goodwill. More than $15 million has already been lost this year through fraudulent charitable solicitations as of September 2022, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

To protect yourself, research the organization online with the terms “scam” or “complaints” to see what comes up. Check with other organizations, such as the Better Business Bureau or Charity Navigator, to see how the charity is rated.

On the charity’s website or social media pages, look for contact information, mission statements, financial records, a breakdown of how they use donations, and a charity registration number. Be cautious if you can’t find this information. Unfortunately, some well-known charities spend more money on their CEO’s salaries than on the cause they are supposed to support.

What Do Those in Need Actually Need?

Shelters and soup kitchens happily welcome donations. But before you donate those canned goods from your pantry, know that other people are also contributing the same. Why not donate something that these organizations need but don’t already have?

People rarely think to donate toiletry items such as shampoo, toothpaste, and toilet paper. These items are needed just as urgently as that can of creamed corn.

Many charities prefer monetary donations so that they can purchase whatever they need. You can also deduct your contributions from your taxes if you go this route.

Browse The Web

Yes, there are ways for you to go about your day online and simultaneously be charitable. One of the easiest ways to support charities online is by clicking on their ads or sharing their links on social media.

Do you shop online? Raise money for charities through sites including Amazon Smile, eBay for Charity, or Goodshop, where a portion of your purchase price is donated to whichever charity you choose.

You can also use search engines and Chrome extensions that donate to charity, including Goodsearch and Tab for a Cause, and click-to-donate sites like Freerice and the Hunger Site.

Donate Your Unwanted Items

If you’re like one of the 12.3% of respondents who have resolved to decorate or renovate your home this year, decluttering should be your first step. Not only is decluttering good advice for everyone, but it’s also a great way to be more charitable.

Rather than throwing something away, consider if it could be useful to someone else. Things like your unworn clothes, furniture, and old electronics could make someone’s day. Plenty of charities and thrift stores would love to take your unwanted items off your hands.

Being more charitable doesn’t have to mean changing your whole lifestyle or making sacrifices you’re not ready to make. Every act of kindness can make the world a better place, no matter how small.

This article was produced by My Life, I Guess and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and more. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations.