Giving back doesn't have to mean that you take out the checkbook. There are many ways you can help those in need without spending a dime, and you'll feel great for doing so.
You can get as involved as you want with these ideas because they range from spending five minutes at your computer, to forming relationships with people in your community, to everything in between.
Care2 is a wonderful free ecard website that has beautiful ecards that can be sent for every holiday and occasion. When you send an ecard through Care2 you'll receive butterfly credits which can then be redeemed to help non-profit organizations provide for those in need.
Gifts that you can give with your credits include providing safe drinking water for children, sending pencils to students in Haiti, planting trees, providing meals for abused animals, and many, many more.
You can also earn butterfly credits by simply visiting Care2 and taking part in their online community in various ways such as taking polls or signing petitions.
Click to Give is a website that you can visit where you can click on ads and that ad revenue will be donated to charities set up to help abused animals, the poor, child abuse, homelessness, and cancer.
If you sign up for an account through Click to Give, you'll also accumulate additional points that you can use to donate to one of the charities.
Charity Click Donation is also another website where more specific charities are represented.
VolunteerMatch is a great way that you can find local volunteer opportunities that will only cost you your time.
A quick search in my area and there were over 200 opportunities for me to volunteer in areas like children and youth, community, education and literacy, health and medicine, seniors, and women.
You can also use VolunteerMatch to find volunteer opportunities that are a perfect fit for kids, teens, seniors, and groups.
If you have professional skills of any type, you can visit Catchafire and find opportunities nationwide where you can offer your skills for free.
Catchafire allows you to filter results by area of expertise, cause, or location, making it easy to find the perfect fit for what you have to offer.
Every time you donate an item you already have but no longer want to Goodwill, they'll use the profits from that sale to help provide career services to people with disadvantages and disabilities.
Also consider locating local charities near you to see if they could use any of the items you no longer need.
6. Give Blood
Donate blood to your local Red Cross to help boost your community's blood supply and you'll be saving lives.
You can also donate bone marrow and possibly be a match to someone who desperately needs a second chance at life.
7. Help Your Neighbors
Help a neighbor in need by shoveling snow, mowing their lawn, bring over a meal, or simply spending some of your time visiting with them.
You can even help out a neighbor anonymously by leaving groceries on their porch or simply bringing up their paper.
8. Adopt a Grandparent
Contact your local nursing home and they'll be able to match you with a senior who would love to have you come and visit.
For only a half an hour a week or every other week, you can really brighten up the life of a senior while fulfilling your own.
Get a haircut and you can donate your hair to Locks of Love which will then use the hair to make hairpieces for children suffering from long-term medical hair loss.
Many salons will even give you the haircut for free when you're going to donate, just call your local salon to see if they participate.
If you love to garden but always have more than you can eat, here's a great way for you to give.
Ample Harvest will connect you to local food banks that will accept your garden surplus.