Thursday, 21 January 2010

Simple & Frugal Ways To Give

By Notes From The Frugal Trenches

The current situation in Haiti is grave, it is hard to actually imagine what it must be like to see people being operated on by the side of the road, families starving to death, thousands of people dying in front of you and millions or orphans with nowhere to go. Before I downshifted and simplified I often felt overwhelmed by need and struggled to understand how I could help. As life has become simpler and I have more control of my finances it seems a lot easier to find different ways to help, different ways to encourage others and different ways to use the talent and time I have. I have so much less financially than I did last year or the year before and yet I'm able to do more. A few friends has said to me that they can't even watch the news because they know there is nothing they can do, their comments have made me think about putting a post together with a list of things you can do - for big budgets and small budgets, for those with time and those without. I would love if any readers contributed ideas as I hope this post inspires people to realize their talents big and small and find ways they can help!

Giving Money

  • Allot a certain amount each month into the budget for giving! I find this helps me budget for helping others in the same way I budget for my rent, bills, car etc!
  • Find a charity whose philosophy you agree with - I sponsor children through World Vision and their updates and letters just bring me such joy!
  • Keep a jar in your home for coins which you can allot for spontaneous giving! This means when there is a disaster or when someone in your circle of family/friends is trying to fundraise you have money handy to give!
  • When there is a disaster or need, look at areas of the budget you can cut out! For example, I have a budget for a weekly hot chocolate or coffee with friends, that £3 a week is a very easy luxury to go without over the next few months so that I can give more to projects in Haiti!
  • Look for tiny yet still important ways to give - spare change after the weekly shop to charity boxes or people collecting!
  • Remember charities in your will
  • Remember giving in your yearly plans/goals
  • Remember that we all have different gifts, you may not be able to go to Haiti to help, but your small donation might help someone else be able to go to Haiti to provide care for those in need!

Giving Time

  • There are thousands of charities which are collecting for Haiti and other countries in need - could you donate a few hours to collect money or fundraise?
  • Several charities are packaging items to send to disaster areas, could you give an evening or 1/2 a day at the weekend to help box up items?
  • Could you organize a fundraiser? Even having a meal at your home and asking friends or family to attend and make a donation which you will give to a charity like Red Cross or World Vision or Doctors Without Borders?
  • Could you make something to sell with the profits going to a charity?
  • Could you attend a fundraiser put on by a Church or charity or group? I am all set to attend one this weekend and am really looking forward to it :)
  • Could you send an email to friends and family with links to organizations collecting or fundraisers?

Giving Things

  • Do you have anything you could sell where you could give the profits to charity?
  • Do you have any clothing, jewelry, shoes, books, knick knacks that you could give to a charity shop?


  • Could you say a prayer, light a candle, hold people in your thoughts?
  • Could you talk to others about the need, which might encourage them to act?

None of these ideas are time consuming or earth shattering, I hope they are simple and easy and encourage others to think about the ways they can give. In this season of my life, which includes both unemployment and opening my home to friends who are homeless due to burst pipes, it can be very very hard to believe that you are in a position to help and yet the more I commit to simple, frugal and green living, the more I see the opportunities to help are all around!

I do so hope some of you might be able to share any giving ideas you have!


Kate said...

Just two days after the earthquake I was delighted to see that my local grocery store had a sign at the checkout for Red Cross donations. I simply told the cashier how much I wanted to donate, and that amount was added on to my grocery total. Fortunately, I trust this regional grocery chain. They're good employers (always rank in top 10 employers nationally), and good neighbors (work with small-scale local farmers, as well as donate to many local causes). So it was easy for me to trust them with my Red Cross donation.

I thought this was a really valuable way to make it easy for people to donate. It worked for me.

notesfromthefrugaltrenches said...

Kate thanks so much for sharing! That is such an easy way isn't it to get people to help!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your heart of willingness, love and compassion. I know a dear sister in Christ who is serving the Lord and orphans in Haiti. It seems they are way back in the line to get aid. Whatever we can offer to help them can't get there soon enough and far enough, but the power of our prayer for their hope, faith, and strengh are being answered so evidently. Doing our part financially and prayerfully is very crutial to them. The privilege we have is that God wants us to come along side of Him in this journey, although He is all powerful, mighty,and holy. And we will see His name glorified. Would you please pray for them and with them? Here is the link.
Thank you for your part and God bless.
for His Glory,

Anonymous said...

Sorry. The link I sent you was incomplete.


Anonymous said...

It's me again. The link should have "" at the end.

This Thrifted Life said...

All wonderful, simple ideas. I donated money, as well as talking to other family members who were suspicious of giving to the cause in Haiti. I told them about some of my favorite charities and directed them to

As for other ideas, how about donating a small (or big) windfall? Most financial gurus advise saving your windfalls, but giving to charity might be on your heart. And with tax time coming up in the US, plenty of people will be receiving at least small windfalls they could donate.

Anonymous said...

We donated a small amount to Haiti thru World Vision (we sponsor a child with them so feel that it will go where it should). We also donate monthly to Opportunity International Australia which is a microfinancing organisation. We have also decided this year to do a monthly donation to a different charity each month but my only concern with that is that they will put me on their mailing list and bombard me with requests for other donations. I think I'll attach a letter explaining what we are doing and asking them NOT to add me to their lists. The other thing we have decided to do is purchase a food item each shopping day and then at the beginning of December donate those goods to the Salvos, that way we are spreading the cost and one extra item added in each week to our shopping won't be noticed financially. Hopefully I'll be able to top it up with some special treats for Christmas!

This Thrifted Life said...

Judy, that is such a great idea to buy an item every time you go food shopping. I did that one year with a toy/toiletry drive for kids, and it really helped my budget. Every time I stopped by a dollar store I picked up small things like toothbrushes and puppets. Before long I had quite a collection to donate.

Anonymous said...

I have just found this cool site - your test your English vocabulary skills and their sponsors donate rice to the UN World Food Programme - in 10mins I had so much fun finding out the meanings of odd words, and raised 510 grains of rice...not much perhaps, but over 68million grains were donated yesterday! If we each had a couple minutes spare each day, we'd improve our language skills and help people in need...without necessarily needing to have any money to give ourselves, or even leave the house. :o)

News article about the site:

simple in France said...

This is a good point--being able to give regardless of how much you downshift (as often income sources can downshift with you).

One thing though, is that I've heard from multiple aid agencies that they're better off having donations that aren't specified for Haiti or the victims of the Tsunami or whatever because non-designated funds allow them to act more quickly as each disaster arrives--rather than needing to use funds that are earmarked. It also helps because some disasters get more news coverage than others. Anyway, that's just a small two cents, otherwise, I think any kind of donating is great.

Joyful said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joyful said...

Brilliant ideas. I've read these and ideas at other blogs. It does make it so much easier for people to donate a few dollars when companies do creative things (as in Kate's example). In Canada right now we have a lot of companies that are making ti easy to donate and for that I am grateful. Personally I donated on World Vision Canada's website. I love the work they do all around the world with orphans as my passion is to help alleviate the suffering of orphans and widows where I can in my own small way. That is why I am involved in missions to the orphans and widows of Kericho (Chepkurbet), Kenya (

I love your heart too for all that you write about and the way you approach the giving to others is most refreshing in this day and age. I pray that God would abundantly bless you so that you can continue to be a blessing to others.

On that note I will wish you a wonderful weekend and invite you to drop by my personal blog. I'm hosting my very first giveaway there.

Oh I have one suggestion for giving when I use often (and have the links on my blog ( It is called The Hunger Site. You can clip on three different badges depending on your area of interest (hunger, animals, conservation) and sponsors of each of these areas of need will donate a small amount of money on your behalf. The hunger badge is used to generate money to feed hungry people around the world and right now that includes Haiti. You can also buy fair trade items on the site and profits go to to causes supported by the site.

Chookie said...

Funnily enough, I had a windfall just before Christmas and a proportion is going to various charities. But I'm not very speedy with doing this, and some of the money hasn't been sent off yet. My money for Haiti is going today to the Red Cross -- thank you for the prompt!

notesfromthefrugaltrenches said...

A huge thank you to everyone for sharing your ideas, resources and experiences! What an informative group of people you all are :)