From time to time may of us are deluged with donation requests from worthy causes. The inability to act on all of them can sometimes make us feel cheap or selfish. Here’s the related paradox, though: I’m pretty sure it doesn’t often occur to cheap, selfish people to feel that way!
So what can you do when your generous impulses outstrip your budget? When there is too much month left at the end of the money?
Here’s a list of cheap (as in “free” or “inexpensive”) ways generosity can be expressed.
Mow the neighbor’s side yard — even when it’s not your turn. Of course you’ll want to be sure to leave the non-mowable plants safely untouched and in place.
If you have a special skill such as writing, cooking, fundraising, or are adept at using social media consider offering your services pro bono. So many nonprofits and advocacy groups have specialized needs but can’t afford dedicated staff to do the quality of work they’d like to do.
Find a Little Free Library near you and donate a book. Can’t find one? Start one.
Choose a struggling (or not so struggling) artist or writer and publicly thank them on Twitter, Insta, Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, their web page… or somewhere else on the web. Something as simple as “I love your work. Please keep it up.” Powerful medicine.
Nominate a talented friend for an award. Like The Bloggies. Or The Webbies. Or The Stevies. Or an award that is specific to their field or endeavor or your/their geography.
While researching cheap ways to be generous I discovered some organizations dedicated to sending handwritten letters. The people who recieve this kindness could be those with mental health issues, the elderly, members of the military, abuse survivors, hospital patients — pretty much anyone who could use a pick-me-up. If you’d like to help someone in this manner, Letters to Strangers, the Write_On Campaign, and A Million Thanks all accept letters.
Leave a rave review on the iTunes page of your favorite podcast. Gush. Five stars. Bravo!!! Standing O! (You get the idea.)
If your friends and loved ones often ask you for birthday or holiday gift ideas, you can ask them to donate to a favorite charity instead.
I don’t care how cheap you are – why not replace the damned toilet paper when it’s low. (It’s so much kinder than letting the next person run out.)
Next time you feel frustrated with someone in your life, try giving them the benefit of the doubt. Generosity of thought and intention is a special gift that doesn’t cost a dime, allows you to believe the best about another person and will probably save you some emotional pain. It’s really not cheap to remember everyone is doing the best they can with what they’ve got.
Even an email chain can be uplifting; when someone has a great idea, tell them how much you like it in front of everyone! You’re being kind by encouraging them among peers.
Are you, a family member, or a close friend part of a large organization? Do any of you own a business? Perhaps you could do some match-making: let them know about a well-run organization that would benefit from sponsorship. (People actually look at that sort of advertising.)
Share a simple compliment three strangers: a child, someone your own age, and an elder.
Did you know there’s an educational game on FreeRice that benefits the United Nations World Food Programme with 10 grains of rice for every question you answer correctly?
While writing this I thought of a time that my family and I were leaving an outdoor event. There had been showers on and off all day but, as we were pulling out, it really started to come down. Hard. Favorite Husband rolled down the window and handed our (cheap but effective) umbrella to some disappointed-looking late arrivals. The event was some time ago, and I don’t remember many details about it, but I’ll never forget the look on their surprised, happy faces reminding me that generosity often benefits the giver most of all.
Do you have a favorite low- or no-cost way to share your generous nature with the world? Please let us know in the comments.
Share the love! (Should I change the title to “15 Ways…”?) It’s easy to tweet about this.
Favorite Husband rolled down the window and handed our (cheap but effective) umbrella to some disappointed-looking late arrivals. I don’t remember many event details, but I’ll never forget the look on their surprised, happy faces… Click To Tweet
Generosity of thought and intention is a special gift that doesn’t cost a dime, allows you to believe the best about another person and will probably save you some emotional pain. Click To Tweet
From time to time may of us are deluged with donation requests fro worthy causes. The inability to act on all of them can sometimes make us feel cheap or selfish. The related paradox? I’m pretty sure it doesn’t often occur to cheap,… Click To Tweet
I don’t care how cheap you are - why not replace the damned toilet paper when it’s low. (It’s so much kinder than letting the next person run out.) Click To Tweet
What great ideas! I belong to a church group that sends out cards and letters every month to folks who are stuck inside or live alone. I really like the one about “adopting” a new artist. I sure could have used that when I first started writing! Love, attention, and compassion don’t cost us a dime!
Anyone who gets you as a cheerleader is going to be one lucky artist/author/creator — especially if you bring the church ladies, too.
These are some really practical ideas! Super easy ways to move through the world with the spirit of generosity.
Thanks. I love ideas that the behaviors we want are easier to add than it is to eliminate the ones we don’t!
When I read the title to this post, I was expecting a list that would not apply to me. With you at the helm of the keyboard, I should have known better. I do know better.
This is a wonderful reminder of the simple things we can do for each other that mean so much. Generosity of time, service, and skills is a precious (and oftentimes priceless) gift. Thank you. Your kindness and generosity are appreciated, Andrea.
Oh my, Cindy. It is rare that a comment moves me to tears (especially the happy ones). Thank you so much for such a rich and loving comment.