3 Fun & Easy Ways To Help Charities

…without reaching into your pockets.


After moving from Toronto to Manhattan and then trying out life in France, we’ve decided to relocate to Monte Carlo, which is a very international (and English-speaking!) city on the Mediterranean (aka. the French Riviera / Côte d’Azur). If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I put a lot of work into my apartment in France — but hey, onward and upward, right!? The fact that our apartment in France is 250m2 (about 2700 square feet of space) and we’re downsizing to a more reasonable 100m2 in Monte Carlo, meant that we needed to quickly offload a lot of our furniture.

3 Fun & Easy Ways To Help Charities

Me, in my apartment in France

When we moved from NYC we donated everything, but I didn’t know of a charity in France that would pick everything up, so I listed our furniture for sale. Then I got an email from a fellow expat named Barbara who, along with 25 friends, started a charity called ActForRef to help refugees. They assigned each person in their new charity with a task, and committed to spending at least eight hours per week doing that task. Her task was to find people who are moving and ask if they have things to donate. She then picks them up and stores them until she can find a refugee who needs that particular type of item.

Listening to her talk was inspiring. She told me how she was dismayed about how the USA is treating refugees, and so she wanted to do her part to try to balance out the negative with some positive, and show that there are plenty of Americans who will be a friend to refugees. When a refugee came to pick up my refrigerator, he shook my hand and looked truly touched. I’ll never forget that moment.

3 Fun & Easy Ways To Help Charities

Me, in Uganda, volunteering to help a charity

My hubby and I have always seen the value in helping charities. When I was a kid, my parents encouraged me to volunteer and I spent my allowance money buying up small pieces of the rainforest and adopting elephants. I even had a pen-pal in Africa (yes, we wrote to each other on — get this — paper!) and I helped pay for her schooling. You may think you need to spend thousands to help a charity, but in reality every dollar makes an impact.

I’m a firm believer that it’s everyone’s duty to give in whatever way they can manage. That’s why we’re gifting everything we have to charities when we croak (since we’re not having kids). But we also look for ways to give back that go beyond just reaching into our pockets. For example, in high school I volunteered at the local animal shelter. It was sad to see all the animals in cages, but worth it because I knew that the time I spent with them made a big difference to these sweet furry beings. In NYC, my hubby and I kept the trend going by volunteering to drive cats from a shelter to a pet store each weekend for adoption day.

If you’re interested in getting involved in charity too, here are a few other ideas that I love (that don’t involve digging into your wallet):



By signing up for Radius’ new Superhero Checking, your interest will be matched by Radius (Earn 0.50% APY on balances of $2,500 or more — yes, you’ll make money, too) in the form of a donation to March of Dimes every month. 1% of your total purchases each month made using your Radius debit card will also be donated to March of Dimes. That, combined with the fact that I can use any ATM in the world for free, there are no monthly maintenance fees, it works with mobile wallets, and their app is IMHO the best out there, is just part of the reason why Radius is my favorite bank. Signing up takes less than 5 minutes and you can fund your account with as little as $100. After that, there’s no minimum balance required.

3 Fun & Easy Ways To Help Charities

In case you’re not familiar with March of Dimes, they’re a wonderful charitable organization that leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies by:

  1. Supporting research toward solutions that ensure every baby is born healthy
  2. Advocating for policies that prioritize the health of moms and babies
  3. Providing resources and programs to help moms before, during and after pregnancy
  4. Educating medical professionals on known solutions to improve the care that moms and babies receive
  5. Uniting local communities across the nation through events and collaboratives
  6. Partnering with organizations and companies committed to helping moms and their families



If you spend much time on Facebook, then you probably already know that there are lots of cats and dogs who desperately need a forever home. Right now, animal shelters are filled to the brim with wonderful animals who would make great pets. But these shelters only have so many cages, and since they’re pretty much always full, the cats and dogs that have been there the longest get killed because there’s no longer space for them. So tragic! But that’s where you come in…

3 Fun & Easy Ways To Help Charities

You can do something called ‘fostering’, and save lives. It’s as simple as picking out a cat or dog (or several) that you agree to keep in your home until they get adopted. You’ll be getting these furry little balls of love out of cages and giving them a chance at a great life via adoption. It’s also a great lesson for kids, and a great way to add some warmth and life to your apartment if you’re single. Here’s more about how to get hooked up with a foster.



Once a year you have a unique opportunity to get all your friends to care about something. You! Now, why not take advantage of this chance to convert all that enthusiasm into action. You don’t need to run a marathon to ask for donations, you just need to be on Facebook. Here’s how the platform works: Two weeks before your birthday, Facebook shows a prompt in your news feed that gives you the option to create a fundraiser for one of 750,000 available nonprofit organizations. You can set a goal amount and create a custom message and, on your birthday, your friends receive a notification inviting them to donate to your chosen cause. After someone donates, they receive a receipt via email. Their name and the amount of their contribution will be shared with the charity as well as with the creator of the fundraiser.

Now how easy is that?!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me in partnership with Radius Bank. The opinions and text are all mine.
Avatar of Hilary Rowland

A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she lives in Monte Carlo, but spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always traveling, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and life hacks to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 162 Comments

  1. Avatar of Nicole Marsden

    Nicole Marsden

    My birthdays could be meaningful now if I start doing that. Thanks for sharing this! I actually saw that option but didn’t think it was legit… LOL.? There are so many things in Facebook that I can’t take seriously.

  2. Avatar of Sarah Carter

    Sarah Carter

    Radius Bank does it again. I’ve been registered for a couple of months to them and I’m not sure how much my interest rate is. As soon as it gets into a decent amount, I’ll donate to March of Dimes.?

  3. Avatar of Michael Daggett

    My wife and I love charitable birthdays. Months before our celebration (we have the same birthday!) we call representatives from charities to do a talk. We use our house as an open venue for people who want to donate from chosen charities or do volunteer work.

    • Avatar of Demi Rees

      Demi Rees

      That’s amazing! You two are really great.

  4. Avatar of Agnes Jones

    Agnes Jones

    Instead of buying that new pair of shoes, why not put that money back in your pocket and donate something to charities instead? How about the old clothes that you haven’t worn in ages, but still look new? It doesn’t even stop with just clothes. Blankets and pillows may also be a good idea. ActForRef is where your things should go for now. There are a lot of refugees that need our help. They won’t survive if we don’t. Think about it. I always see it on my newsfeed and it breaks my heart.

    • Avatar of Lilly Whittaker

      Lilly Whittaker

      We should share our blessings to other people instead of always filling our closets.

  5. Avatar of Louise Bremer

    Louise Bremer

    I can’t wait to see photos of your new apartment in Monte Carlo! Are you going to decorate it similar to the last one? I’m excited to see!

  6. Avatar of Gladys Eisenhower

    Gladys Eisenhower

    Wow, your new apartment is so much smaller than your previous one. I’m really curious about how it looks. Monte Carlo is really different from France and I honestly can’t imagine what the two of you are thinking. I get the fact that you’re expats but moving from one place to another in such a frequent manner stresses me out. I have a habit of collecting home items so it would be really difficult for me to keep letting go of my stuff just because I’m going to move! Oh well, GOODLUCK! ??

  7. Avatar of Teresa Callas

    Teresa Callas

    “Every dollar makes an impact” <– we have to really take note of that. Most of us think that only rich people can donate, but it's not like that.

    • Avatar of Felicia Sirbu

      Yep, that’s what most of us think. It’s not all about money though! It can be things that you no longer need, clothes, shoes, etc.

  8. Avatar of Mellisa Sealey

    Mellisa Sealey

    I’ve tried that feature from Radius and I was really happy that I was able to help even if it’s just the interest rate from what I’ve saved.❤️

  9. Avatar of Cynthia Jones

    Cynthia Jones

    I would love to foster an animal until they can get adopted. I already have a couple of pets at home that would love a new friend. It’s just that I don’t think I can keep more of them that’s why I can’t adopt them, but only foster them. I also have a couple of friends that love animals and are willing to do this. There are tons of people who would love to help, we just have to encourage them to do it. Others don’t know how to start helping in charities because they have no idea on what to do.?

  10. Avatar of Tammy Kaiser

    Tammy Kaiser

    I’m an animal lover and I would really love to help in animal shelters. My only issue is that most of the shelters are far from where I live and I don’t have a car. May I ask what else I can do to help them? Maybe promoting them online or something like that will do? I want to help in my own little way but I don’t know how to without exactly traveling too far because I would end up traveling longer than doing actual tasks there. This makes me really sad because I really want to help.

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