Cheap, easy ways to give back
It's that time of year when doing good is en vogue. Salvation Army bell-ringers greet shoppers. Volunteers line up to serve food to the less fortunate. And local fire stations make calls for donations.
While it seems corporations may make the biggest donations, it's everyday Americans who keep charities afloat. Last year, charitable giving totaled $316.23 billion, with $228.93 billion of that coming from individuals, says Jim Yunker, a director for the Giving USA Foundation.
Despite growth in charitable contributions, however, overall giving is not expected to reach pre-recession levels for at least six to seven years, according to the report from the Giving USA Foundation. For many, making a big donation just doesn't pencil out this year; but as the saying goes, good things can come in small packages.
"You don't have to be the Bill Gates of the world to be a philanthropist," says Yunker. "It doesn't matter if it's just a few dollars or pennies."
Here are some quick ways to give back on a budget.