Philanthropy. It sounds like rich-people territory, right? The truth is, philanthropy is for everyone, even those on a budget. It’s simply means, “goodwill to fellow members of the human race.” So it won’t cost a penny to let your inner philanthropist shine. Plus, giving to others is proven to activate joy in your brain and can lead to other personal benefits. Win-win.

Here are 5 free ways to get into the giving spirit and help others:

  1. Clean your closets. Look for books, clothes, toys, and housewares that you or your family has long forgotten. Many charities want these donations and sell them to raise money for their cause. Potential side benefit: You may be able to deduct the value of the items you give the next time you file your income taxes.

  2. Host a drive. Host a coat or canned food drive at your workplace. Place a bin to collect donations and post a sign stating your request. Give the collection to a shelter or food pantry when you’re done! Potential side benefit: Earn brownie points for leading a charitable initiative at work. 😉

  3. Serve or sort food. Soup kitchens and food banks rely on volunteers. Gather family or friends to volunteer as a group. Pick a non-holiday time, when volunteers are less plentiful. Potential side benefit: If you have children, this is a great way to introduce them to giving back to the community and helping those who are less fortunate.

  4. Pick up trash. Join your friends for a walk or hike with the goal of picking up trash to give the environment some love. Just remember to bring gloves and trash bags. Potential side benefit: If your state pays for recyclables, you may even redeem cans and bottles to pay for a group celebration later!

  5. Use social media. Give your time and talents to help a charity improve its social media presence and gain followers. Use your quippy-caption and hashtag brilliance for the greater good! Potential side benefit: Brush up on your social media marketing prowess and add it as a skill you bring to the table.

Kudos for giving your time to making the world a better place. We’re all in this together.

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