New Ways To Be Charitable When You’re Not Rich

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After making a whole lot of dough, many of history’s greatest men switched gears to become its most noted philanthropists—Steve Jobs or Bill Gates ring any bells? Of course, we’d all like to follow in their footsteps to create some good in this world, but not all of us are as blessed with their business acuity (nor their number of paid days off). That doesn’t mean you can’t give back, however. Here are five ways anybody who’s not making six figures can still support charitable causes online.
 
 

Crowdfund raising
Crowdfunding giants like IndieGoGo and Kickstarter don’t allow users to set up pages for charities, but a few growing, specialized platforms do. Sites like CauseVox in particular allows you to create fundraising pages that incur no fees until you raise $5,000 or more. There, you can either raise money yourself as an individual user, or turn your backers into a team who can in turn solicit donations as a group. The Causes app for Facebook is an easy-to-use alternative that leverages the social sites’ popularity and can help make your efforts go viral.

Throw a stream-a-thon
The days of the telethon are over, but the sentiment lives on. Free services that allow users to stream video online are becoming increasingly popular ways to drum up support for a cause. Average Joes can put together a Google Hangout focusing on a topic of interest, but some of the most popular campaigns have been organized on Twitch by gamers raising funds by playing video games for an extended amount of time. If that’s not proof you can do practically anything to move a good cause forward, we don’t know what is.

Donate your skills
Donating your time is the traditional way to give back on a small budget, but these days, nonprofits and charities need more than a handful of volunteers to stuff envelopes. Many such organizations run on a small staff, ensuring that anybody with marketing or communications experience that can help find new sponsors is a sought-after part-timer. If you’re a proficient writer, social media manager, or other media creative, you can help them build an online presence that will help get the word out about their cause. Catchafire.com can help pair your skills with an organization that supports a cause you believe in. Bonus: many opportunities on it are aimed at nine-to-fivers who already work a busy life.

Subscribe to a charity
You may recognize them by the plucky youth they put on street corners asking passersby for donations, but subscription or fee-based charities do a lot of good and ask very little. The best part, is many of them have gone online. They’ll automatically charge your account to the tune of a few dollars per month, and often also give you updates about what your money is being put toward. If you don’t want to leave home, CharitySub asks for $5 a month that it donates to a different monthly cause.

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