10 Ways You Can Help Right Now!

1. Give cash

Yep, good ol' cash. It's the easiest thing to do, and it's usually what charities need most. When you go to the store, put your spare change in the jar for whatever charity you prefer. Give a portion of your income. I suggest 10%, the Biblical tithe. If you already give 10% to your home church

2. Volunteer

Most charities can't afford to pay a staff to do all the good work they do. Second only to cash, they need people to volunteer an hour a week or whatever amount time you can give. Visit www.volunteermatch.org or look in your local Yellow Pages under "charity" to find out what help your local charity needs most.

3. Donate your used clothes or goods

Everyone's got something in their attack or in the back of their closet that they don't use or wear (or sometimes haven't even seen in years!) Don't let it go to waste. There are people who need what you don't use. Plus, many organizations have stores where they sell the things they don't actively need to help raise money. And remember, it's tax deductible.

Two of my favorite charities that accept donated goods are:

   - Salvation Army (www.salvationarmy.org)
  - Goodwill (www.goodwill.org)

4. Sell your stuff at Auction

If you don't want to donate your used items, or your favorite charity doesn't accept donated goods, you should consider selling the items yourself at auction and then donating the money. eBay is a great place to sell all kinds of things. If you really want to get the most out of your auction, read "Make Your Net Auction SELL!" It's perfect for getting the most action at your auction.

5. Give blood

The recent tragedy of 9-11 really brought home this ongoing need. Though millions lined up to donate immediate after the attacks, that blood is no longer usable. Blood can only be stored for up to 35 days, so this is a continuing need. To schedule a time to give blood, visit www.givelife.org or call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543). It really is the gift of life.

6. Set up a website

I go into more depth about this here.

7. Use coupons

Try to find coupons for items you already buy regularly, then give the savings to charity. Doesn't cost you anything but the five minutes it takes to cut the coupons out of the Sunday paper.

8. See what they need

Every charity is different. Call up your local charity and ask what you can do to help. You'll be surprised by how grateful they will be.

9. Buy from companies who give

There are many companies out there who give a certain portion of their proceeds to one charity or another. If it won't cost you extra money, and the quality is just as good, there's no reason not to patronize the company who gives. Usually, your favorite charity will know which companies donate to them, so call 'em up and ask.

10. Pray for them

This is the last item on my list, but it is by no means least. I'm a Christian, and I believe that prayer is one of the most important things you can do. The second half of James 5:16 says: "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." I agree. If you have money you can give, that's great. If you have time that you can volunteer, or clothes that you can donate, that's wonderful. But don't forget to pray for the workers, the organization, and the work they do. It's vital!


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