How to Give…For Free

By Cheryl Mahoney

There are a huge number of worthy causes out there, a huge number of important needs. Sometimes it seems like every cause in the world wants a few dollars from you. When you can afford it, great! But other times the budget gets tight (need I mention recent economic developments?) and it gets hard to support all the causes that tug at your heart. Our last post demonstrated that you can do a lot for very little; if you have ten dollars for malaria nets, go for it!

Here’s another idea too—what if you could do something for absolutely nothing? We all like free things, or the chance to get something without needing to put much effort in. It’s why we buy lottery tickets. I’m offering a guaranteed way to help someone without even touching your budget. No outlay, and no risk.


The internet has meant wonderful innovations in many fields, philanthropy and do-good work included. “Click for free to help” sites are one such innovation. The Hunger Site is a great example. You don’t have to give them your name, your e-mail address, or your credit card number—because you’re not spending anything. Simply go onto The Hunger Site and click the big yellow button. A new page will pop up to thank you. And just like that, you’ve given a little over a cup of food to feed someone in need. You click, sponsors pay. Want to do more? They have a shop too, if you have a few dollars to spend on a good cause. In the realm of free giving, there are plenty of similar sites for other causes. You can save trees, rescue animals, give books to children and more, all for the small effort of a few clicks of a mouse.


Looking for even more causes? Try No need to hunt around—they’ve done it for you. As soon as you go onto their site you’re presented with dozens of links to websites where you can click for free to support all kinds of causes all over the world.



I’ve heard it argued that this sort of thing doesn’t accomplish very much—a few grains of rice per click. Maybe, but put together my grains of rice and your grains of rice and all the rice from all the people who click…pretty soon not very much turns into a big difference. I’m not suggesting you should click sites for free instead of giving money to charity, but it can be a great supplement to other giving. It’s also something you can keep doing no matter what happens on Wall Street or what your budget looks like this month. I click every day and tell my friends about it. Now I’m telling you too.

The lottery is a one in a million chance. This is a guaranteed return for someone, and it costs you even less—because it’s free.


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