In June of 1889, Andrew Carnegie wrote The Gospel of Wealth, wherein he explains that it is the responsibility of the wealthy to distribute their riches during their lifetimes in a manner that generates the greatest good for the general population. The Gospel of Wealth was seemingly reborn in 2010 when Warren Buffet and Bill Gates created ‘The Giving Pledge’, a campaign that sought to encourage the wealthiest people in the world to donate their riches during their life or upon their death.

For the estimated 160 individuals who have taken this pledge, giving is not a problem; what about the rest of us budding entrepreneurs? What can we do when a financial contribution just isn’t feasible? Well, the Eleemosynary Entrepreneur has the answer for you with the top 5 ways to give to charity when your bank account is running on empty:

Empty Out Your Closet 

Whether it’s your old PC or the jeans that still have the tag on them, your home is a veritable treasure trove of both tangible and material value items that you simply don’t use. Most of us are familiar with The Salvation Army and Goodwill, but did you know that several other organizations will come pick up your items, and you may be eligible for a tax deduction receipt? If you’re looking around your house right now thinking that you have nothing worth giving, think again, as even the humble sock is considered one of the most needed and least donated items.

Give a Little Piece of Yourself

You may have nothing in your bank account but did you know an average adult body with a weight of 150 to 180 pounds will contain approximately 10-12 pints of blood? Typically, you will donate a little less than a pint, and the entire process shouldn’t take much more than an hour.  According to the American Red Cross, you must wait 56 days between donations, so that means you can donate about 6 pints of blood a year! The NHS (National Health Service) compiled the following statistics concerning the use of donated blood: 67% was used to treat medical conditions including anemia, cancer and blood disorders, 27% was used in surgery, including cardiac surgery and emergency surgery and 6% was used to treat blood loss after childbirth. So suck it up and make that trip to your local Red Cross blood bank. A little of you can go a long, long way.

Give the gift of your Time

“Time is the coin of life; only you can determine how it will be spent.”                 -Carl Sandburg

I have always loved this quote and believe sincerely that your greatest asset and similarly the greatest gift you could bestow upon someone would be your time.  How then to best distribute such a finite and valuable commodity?  Simply put, you look for some causes that are near and dear to your heart, contact them and inquire as to how you can be of assistance.  Volunteering and supporting adult literacy efforts, tutoring children and assisting senior citizens are three distinct areas where your time and energy will be invaluable.

Care with your Hair

While I can’t personally give in this particular manner, donating your hair is an excellent and relatively easy way to give to people who are suffering from medical conditions that cause hair loss. There are several wonderful organizations that will accept your cleaned, washed and dried ponytail or braid and then undertake the process of producing prostheses.  It can take up to 30 braids or ponytails and multiple weeks to create one of these customized masterpieces so get out your scissors and go to work, just remember that in most cases the donated hair must be at least 8-12 inches depending on the charity.

Build your Vocab and Feed the Hungry at Freerice.com

Freerice.com is a very entertaining site that is owned and operated by the United Nations World Food Programme. The website has two goals:

1)  To provide education for free to everyone

2)  Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free

The site allows you to jump right into a multiple choice vocabulary game where every correct answer results in 10 grains of rice being donated to a hungry person.  You can also create a password and keep track of your vocabulary performance and your rice contributions.  With over a million registered users and almost 100 billion grains of rice donated to date, this is one site that you can feel good burying your antisocial face into!