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An illustration of a purple heart inside an hour glass.
An illustration of a purple heart inside an hour glass.
An illustration of a purple heart inside an hour glass.

Support your favorite nonprofit without spending a dime.

It's the season of giving. And while your generosity knows no bounds, your budget does.

But there are ways to support your favorite nonprofit without spending a dime. Here are six suggestions from nonprofit advocates.

Volunteer.

Your time is worth a lot to organizations. Independent Sector, a coalition of charities, foundations, corporations and individuals, estimated the value of a volunteer hour at $24.69 nationally in 2017. In Washington, the value was $30.46. But for some organizations, that hour is priceless.

"Without volunteers, we just simply couldn't do it," said Stefanie Bruno, director of development and communications for the Women & Children's Free Restaurant & Community Kitchen in Spokane. There, about 150 people help each week, usually for 3.5 hours each shift.

Share the love.

Help your favorite nonprofit by getting the word out. "Advocate for us," said Cal Coblentz, CEO of Spokane Valley Partners, which works to prevent hunger and poverty.

Follow your favorite nonprofits on social media and share their posts. If there's an event, share the details. Peer-to-peer engagement is essential to getting the word out, Coblentz said.

“Without volunteers, we just simply couldn't do it,” says Stefanie Bruno.

Shop.

Make an impact with what you buy. Some stores will link rewards programs with donations. And Amazon will give 0.5 percent of your spending to the nonprofit of your choice if you shop at smile.amazon.com.

Tesh, a Coeur d'Alene nonprofit that provides job training to people with disabilities, takes advantage of programs like that. "It's one of those every-little-bit-helps things," said Terri Johnson, vice president of Tesh.

Donate goods rather than cash.

Garden producing more than you can eat? The Women & Children's Free Restaurant and other hunger organizations will take fresh produce.

Spokane Valley Partners is in constant need of diapers, socks and other supplies, Coblentz said. Organize a diaper drive to benefit that organization or another group. Coordinate with the organization to make sure the donations are exactly what it needs. (That goes for any in-kind donation.)

Create opportunities.

Tesh needs work for its clients. "We have a vocational center, and we're always looking for contracts," Johnson said. The group also has a program that pays wages for short-term first jobs for teens during the summer, but it needs employers willing to hire.

Show up.

Your presence can make an impact, Coblentz said. If a topic important to you is being discussed at city council or a community meeting, just your being there can help sway decisions.



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