Times have been tough on a lot of people and, unfortunately, one of the places people might cut back on is charitable giving. If you can’t spare the money to make a cash donation to your favorite charity, consider donating some of your time or your skills. It might be easier to write a check, assuming you can spare the money, than donate your time but both are equally valuable. In fact, depending on your skillset, your time may be far more valuable than what you’d be willing to donate.
For example, let’s say you’re a computer whiz and good at diagnosing and fixing computer problems. If you were to donate your time to your local food bank and clean up all of their computers, it would probably take you just a few hours. Consider how much it would cost for them to hire a technician to come and optimize their computers for them? $100? $500? $1,000? In that particular case, you get to do a bit of good (a lot of good depending on how messed up their computers are) and they get to save a lot of money and improve their efficiency.
If you are currently unemployed, which is not uncommon these days, this philanthropic move may help you find a job. By getting you out of the house and interacting with other people, you never know who you will network with. Maybe you become friends with someone who has an opening at his or her employer? Maybe someone is married to someone with an employer who is hiring? If nothing else, you can go into an interview explaining that with the time off you were able to contribute time to your local charity. It has benefits for the charity and for you.
So this holiday season, if you can’t contribute financially to your favorite charities, consider donating your time.