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Always wondered how you can contribute and do good despite your busy lifestyle, work schedule or lack of financial resources? Then perhaps these ten tips to do good and support a good cause without spending any money might help:

1. Use alternative search engines

Ecosia is a CO2-neutral search engine that donates 80% of its surplus income to a tree planting program. More than 4 million trees have already been planted since the launch in 2009. The current focus of Ecosia’s tree planting programme is in Burkina Faso. It couldn’t be easier to help! Simply add the free browser extension and use Ecosia every time you search. Similar alternatives are Goodsearch and Benelab.

2. Conscious shopping

With this idea I simply mean consider your shopping options. Often, there are sustainable alternatives and they don’t have to be expensive. One good example: Karma Classics (previously known as Karma Chakhs), fair and sustainable produced sneakers produced without plastic, exploitation or child labour. Online marketplaces such as Fairmondo, Bonsum or WeGreen make it easier for you to find sustainable brands and products.

Or simply buy locally and support small shops in your neighbourhood instead of big corporate chains. At OriginalUnverpackt, you can buy products without packaging. This one is in Berlin, but more and more of its kind are popping up around the globe.

3. Volunteer your time

Obviously, this idea isn’t such a big surprise. There are loads of opportunities to volunteer and help. And the good news is, these days there are various online platforms that make it easy for you to find volunteer opportunities in your city such as:

  • Volunteer Planner coordinates help for refugees in primarily refugee shelters in Germany.
  • GoVolunteer links projects in refugee support with volunteers who want to help.
  • VolunteerMatch brings people together with nonprofits that need help. (US)
  • Vostel also connects volunteers with non-profit organisations seeking for help, whether you have little time to spare or are looking for supporting an organisation for the long-term. Popular by tourists and locals alike.
  • At Give Somethng Back to Berlin you can offer your skill or sign up for various volunteering opportunities. Lots of opportunities are in support of newcomers to the city.

By volunteering, you not only help organisations or people who are in need of support; it will also broaden your horizon and perspective, you will learn more about social problems and non-profits, and you will meet people from any spheres of live and origin.

4. Skills-based volunteering

Often grassroots or nonprofits need support in specific issues and look for volunteers with specific skills, such as teaching, mentoring, marketing and so on. Here are a few examples of skills-based volunteering platforms:

  • Youvo is an online platform for young creative volunteers in the fields of media production, communication and design with non-profit organisations in Germany.
  • TeachSurfing  connects travelers who would like to spend some of their travel time volunteering as teachers with knowledge-sharing opportunities schools, universities, and non-profit organisations at their travel destination.
  • CodeNow is offering free out-of-school computer programming training to students. If you got coding skills and experience, you can sign up to volunteer.
  • Repair Cafés are free meeting places and they’re all about repairing things (together). In the place where a Repair Café is located, you’ll find tools and materials to help you make any repairs you need (bicycles, toys, electronic appliances etc.).

You can also become a German language buddy and teach German to refugees / newcomers at refugee shelters and other places. The list is really endless…

5. Donation in kind

Charities, NGO’s and social enterprises sometimes simply need things like books, cups, old phones or laptops or clothing. You can often find information on what they need on their website. Another opportunity is using bid&CARE, an alternative to Ebay & Co, where you donate a percentage (you choose) of your income through sales to selected nonprofits.

6. Organise a fundraiser

It doesn’t need to be huge event to raise money. What about simply organising a garage or jumble sale and donate the money received for your old cloth to a local nonprofit organisation? Or what about selling home bake brownies at a nearby local street fest or school event and teach your kids some entrepreneurial skills? Find more fundraising ideas on Spendenideen.de.

7. Walk, run or bicycle for good

Especially at this time of the year, there are lots of opportunities to join charity walks or runs. You can also install apps such as Charity Miles. The app will measure your distance and you will help earn money for a charity. All counts: walking, running and biking. It’s possible through corporate sponsorships.

8. Raise funds while shopping

Over the last couple of years, various platforms emerged that allow you to raise funds for charities and nonprofits while shopping. How does it work? Online shops give a percentage of what you spend online to a charity of your choice. Change your habit and do your online shopping from now on for example via Boost, Helpfreely or EasyBenefit to donate money at no extra cost.

9. Frequent flyer miles donations

There are several airline companies who offer you to pass on your miles to charities. Miles & More members from Lufthansa can for example donate their miles to Help alliance or SOS Children’s Villages.

10. Market research for good

Goodnity is an app where you can contribute in market research. A fixed amount will be donated per question answered. A standard questionnaire consists out of 7-10 questions.


What are your tips for contributing and give back? Please don’t hesitate to share your tips in the comment box below!