Recently, billionaires such as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates started something called the “Giving Pledge”, promising to give at least half of their substantial fortunes to charity. For the small-time philanthropist who doesn’t have untold billions to donate to causes, this can feel a bit discouraging. However, there are plenty of opportunities to contribute small amounts of money to worthy causes, and that money can go a long way. This is particularly true in the age of social media, where like-minded people from around the world are able to seamlessly connect with each other. Here are four different ways that you yourself can make a huge impact with a small donation, taken from the personal finance blog bankrate:
Join a “giving circle”: These groups will pool their money and then share the task of selecting which causes they support. Since the funds are pooled, they can make a much bigger impact than an individual donation. There are hundreds of these across the country, but if you can’t find one you like, you can always start your own.
Microphilanthropy: The site pledge4good.com allows users to set up “pledging systems” for friends and family to give small amounts of money to a specific cause. They allow individuals to easily raise funds from various people to magnify the impact of smaller donations.
Make a microloan: “Microlenders” don’t actually have to give their money away to causes, they simply lend it. A $25 loan, for instance, can empower an impoverished entrepreneur in a third-world country to start and maintain a business. Nonprofit microlender Kiva, for instance, has awarded millions in small loans to impoverished people in remote parts of the world since launching in 2005.
Toys For Tots: This is a pretty well-known and well-recognized charity, which allows you to make a huge difference without too much money. The Holiday season is a long way off, but it’s a great way to make a difference for a child without having to pay too much.
Serve a soldier: The USO Wishbook allows you to make a small donation to help an American military member. A donation of $15, for instance, will provide a care package for a service member to get through the initial days of deployment. And $25 provides a calling card for a phone call home. Small gifts, but ones that make a huge difference.