The recession has been tough on most everybody -- and charities are no exception. Charitable giving to nonprofits fell 3.6 percent in 2009 from 2008, according to Giving USA Foundation based in Glenview, Ill.
"Amid the recession and job losses, those who would normally give are sticking to smaller gifts or none at all," says Nicole Bouchard Boles, author of "How to be an Everyday Philanthropist." "Every donor has had to make hard choices, and this year it's been more difficult than ever."
Givers, take heart. Even if your budget is stretched and lint is the only thing in your wallet, it's still possible to support your favorite charities, often without a significant outlay of added time or money.
"These days, it's not about how much or how often we give. It's about how we give," Boles says. "The goal is to give intelligently and wring the most potential out of everything we donate, particularly if we have less to contribute."
With a little creativity, giving more can be as simple as maximizing the resources you already have and leveraging the services you already use.