As college students, we often find ourselves Googling ways we can make a difference in between studying or writing a term paper. In an age where social entrepreneurship classes are more popular than accounting ones, charitable giving has become the cool thing to do.
Giving, volunteering, going on a Habitat for Humanity trip for spring break and joining the Peace Corps is what our generation does best, and the statistics can prove it. The number of college students volunteering nearly doubled from 2002 to 2005, according to a report by the Federal Corporation for National and Community Service, and it has continued to increase since. The number of nonprofit organizations from 1999 to 2009 has also increased by 31.5%, according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics.
There are many reasons as to why so many of us are jetting off to save the planet — one being the World Wide Web. Technology has made it far easier to find and create ways to make an impact. However, when all is said and done, the truth about “giving” is that it also means giving money. And as college students, we usually don’t have trees growing that kind of green in our backyards. So what are we to do as a generation of students that aspire to be Blake Mycoskie, CEO of TOMS Shoes, rather than Rupert Murdoch?
Fortunately, there are several people who have created opportunities for us to give without giving monetarily. This way, you’ll still be able to afford a night out with your friends and make a difference.
Here are five ways college students can give back without actually giving:
Pack for a Purpose
This nonprofit organization helps projects around the world by listing their needed items that travelers like you can pack in their luggage. Destinations include popular spring break locations such as Mexico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. All you have to do is go to the website, select your destination and browse the projects. Items are as simple as paper, pens and old backpacks. Once you arrive at your destination you can leave the items with the hotel concierge and Pack for a Purpose will take care of the rest.
Who doesn’t love a good game of trivia? With Free Kibble, it doesn’t matter if you pick the right or wrong answer — this organization will give 10 pieces of kibble to hungry cats and dogs every time you answer a question. According to its website, the organization has donated over 500 million pieces of kibble since April 1, 2008. Just visit the website to start gaming.
CompassionPit.com is a place for people to vent their troubles to strangers about what’s on their minds without the fear of it being used against them in the future. This website connects you with people who are having a bad day or are simply looking for someone to talk to. All you have to do is listen and offer your own wise advice.
Call to Protect
This national philanthropy, initiated by The Wireless Foundation, collects old cell phones to combat domestic violence. Your old cell phone will be refurbished and sold, and all of the profits are used as grants for organizations working to end family violence. What else are you going to do with that old cell phone? It’s as easy as deactivating your phone service, erasing personal information and mailing in your phone.
Sure, this might not be a new one for you, but it’s just as important. At Goodwill, you can donate used clothing, electronics, appliances and furniture. All sales from the organization help fund job training programs and employment placement services for those with disabilities and lack of education or job experience. It’s a perfect place to send those no-longer-needed items from your spring-cleaning extravaganza.
These organizations show us that we don’t need to be reaching in our pockets to make a difference because, frankly, that’s not really an option on a college student’s budget. Now you have five ways you can make an impact without shrinking your bank account.
*All editorial content has been created by me and reflects my personal opinions.
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