4 Feb 2019

How to give back when you’re broke

Spread the word

Raising awareness has never been easier thanks to social media. Why not follow your favourite charities and share their content? You can also have your say on important matters by signing petitions via change.org, attending a protest or writing to your local member of parliament.


You can make a big impact by giving your time to a charity. Plus, volunteering is good for your health – studies show it reduces stress levels and boosts your immune system.

There are all sorts of volunteering opportunities to choose from. Have a think about which causes matter to you, what you’re good at and how much time you can commit. You can search for current opportunities across the UK via do-it.org. Or try Reach Volunteering if you have professional skills to offer, such as legal, accounting or marketing expertise.

Earn cashback for charities

You may be familiar with cashback – essentially, it means getting a small percentage of money back on your purchases as a reward for shopping with a certain website or credit card.

Give as you Live lets you earn those rewards for your chosen charity instead. Its users have helped raise over £10 million so far, just by shopping through the site. It’s completely free to use and you can shop with over 4,300 stores, as well as insurance, energy and broadband providers.

Boost your donations by 25% (for free)

Even small donations can make a difference – especially when you make a gift aid declaration. This lets charities claim 25% tax back on your money. So when you donate £10, gift aid turns it into £12.50. Gift aid can also be applied to donations made over the past four years.

Making a gift aid declaration doesn’t cost a penny. You can usually do it via the charity’s website or by filling out one of their forms.

You do need to be a UK taxpayer. Also, gift aid only applies to donations that are under four times what you’ve paid in tax that tax year (probably not an issue if you’re skint!).

Organise a fundraiser

No money to donate to charity? Get others to do it for you! But seriously, it’s amazing how much people can raise when they club together. Why not throw an event at work, such as a bake sale, cinema night or book swap? Or you could get sponsored to do a fun run, grow a beard, shave your head or complete an eating challenge. Make it easier for people to pledge money by creating a page on JustGiving.

Become a blood, organ or bone marrow donor

Your blood could be used to keep people alive during surgery, or to treat patients with medical conditions such as anaemia. Learn what to expect and where you can donate via the NHS Blood and Transplant website.

You could also save up to nine lives by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register. This means that when you die, your organs will be transplanted into someone who needs them to live. You can choose which organs you’re willing to donate, or leave the register at any time.

Bone marrow is the spongy stuff in your bones where your blood stem cells live. Some people have a disease that stops this from working properly. Their best hope of recovery is a stem cell transplant – but it can be difficult to find someone who’s a match. You can put yourself forward as a potential donor by joining the British Bone Marrow Registry.

Have a clearout and donate any unwanted, good-quality items to your local charity shop. Or get them collected by a charity that offers a pick-up service, like the British Heart Foundation.

Upgraded your computer recently? Give your old one to Computers for Charities (it must be less than five years old and fully working). This organisation has distributed more than 250,000 computers to nonprofits in over a hundred countries.

Buy from charity shops

Charity shops are the perfect solution if you’re feeling broke and charitable at the same time. You can find clothes, homeware, books and more for an absolute steal, all while supporting a good cause. There’s no need to leave your sofa either, as many charities now have online stores – try Oxfam or Barnardos.

Foster an animal

Got time, room and love to spare? Consider fostering a rescue pet or service animal. This means giving it a temporary home while the charity looks for a permanent owner or completes its service training.

Fostering normally costs very little, if anything at all. Most charities pay for the animal’s expenses, including food, toys and vet bills. But you may need a car to take it to the vets, training sessions and adoption events.

Fostering is a big commitment and you’ll need to meet strict criteria to get accepted. But if it’s right for you, it can be a very rewarding experience. Doing a good deed has never felt so fluffy.

How do you give back? What charities do you support? Share your stories below and inspire someone else!

For more tips on how to save and budget better, head to Monzo Money Tips👇

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