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Five ways to be charitable when times are tough


Supporting your favourite charity doesn't have to mean handing over hard-earned brass. From donating blood to using ME Bank's Pink debit card that helps fund breast cancer research, it's possible to lend your favourite cause a helping hand at no cost to you. 

The COVID crisis has hit charities hard by ruling out traditional fundraisers like sausage stalls and door-knocking campaigns. As a result, donations are expected to fall by over 7% in 2020, with a further 12% drop forecast for 2021

The cut in income comes at a time when charities face rising demand. Food rescue group OzHarvest, says demand for food relief is at an all-time high. Beyond Blue has seen a 27% increase in calls this year. 

Charities have always supported Australians. Now it's our turn to give back. Here are five ways to make a real difference even if you're strapped for cash yourself.

1. Do a good deed every pay 

Select a debit card linked to a particular cause, like the Pink Everyday Transaction Account card offered by industry super fund-owned ME Bank. Each time you pay for a purchase with the Pink card, ME will donate to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. 

As a cardholder it costs you nothing, but the donations quickly add up. ME has already donated over $1 million to cancer research, and during October ME will be quadrupling the amount donated from 1 to 4 cents every time customers use their Pink debit card. The funds raised will support research into a revolutionary new blood test designed to better detect and manage breast cancer. 

2. Donate reward points 

If you're a loyalty scheme member, chances are you can turn reward points into charitable donations. Frequent flyer points, and points earned through supermarket reward schemes, can be swapped for donations to a wide choice of charities. 

3. Have a spring clean 

We all have items lying around the home that we no longer need, which can be turned into hard coin by your local op shop. Bag, box, or bundle up all those unwanted gifts, tacky souvenirs and outdated garments, and take the lot down to your local charity store. One person's trash is another's treasure, right? 

4. Give your time or skills 

Giving up a few hours of your time costs nothing but it means a lot to charities, who may otherwise have to pay for tasks to be completed. There's a whole world of volunteer opportunities to explore, from walking rescue dogs at your local animal shelter, to offering specialist skills in pro bono rolls. 

5. Donate blood 

The average adult has around five litres of blood flowing through their veins. Surely you could spare a drop or two? It takes just a few minutes for the Red Cross to collect 450mL of the life-giving liquid - and you don't walk away empty-handed. Blood donors receive a drink and snacks plus an endless supply of the warmth that comes with helping to save lives.