5 Side Income Ideas to Generate More Funds to Donate

John Griffin is an online contributor who is passionate about personal finance, charity, and helping others achieve their goals.

According to the Indiana Center on Philanthropy, the average American household donated $2,213 to charity in 2012. Although this is an increase from 2011, the fact remains that the recent economic downturn increased the country’s charitable needs while hindering most Americans’ ability to give.

If you’ve been trying to cut costs in order to maintain your level of charitable giving, but your budget’s still tight, consider changing your strategy by generating extra income. Read on for some ways to make extra cash so you can continue to do your part.

1. Start a Consultancy Business
Take the expertise you’ve learned in your professional life and start generating cash in your spare time. Start off small – explain your new business idea to family and friends and ask for their referrals. Once you’ve gotten comfortable dispensing advice, purchase inexpensive business cards (the website Vistaprint is one option), and advertise your expertise on social media. Keep your rates low initially to attract new customers, then adjust them upward as your business expands.

2. Sell Your Old Stuff
Most of us have unused electronics lying around the house that can be sold for extra cash. Open an eBay or Amazon account or try selling older smartphones and tablets on Gazelle. Make sure you list your items accurately, package them securely, and ship them quickly. You’ll generate money and get your house cleaned up at the same time.

You can take the same approach with other household items. Sell lightly used clothing to a consignment shop, or have a garage sale. You’d be surprised how much money you can make in the course of a single day.

3. Complete Paid Online Surveys
You won’t flood your bank account by completing online surveys, but every little bit helps. Check out PineCone Research and Lightspeed Research. If they’re accepting new members (they do so on a limited basis) you can make about $3 to $5 per survey. If these organizations aren’t accepting new members, do a quick search for other paid survey opportunities. Just make sure you vet the site thoroughly so you don’t waste your time with a scam site or one requiring hours of effort for an extremely low payout.

4. Use Your Mobile Device
Did you know there are ways to generate cash with apps for your smartphone or mobile device? Download the ScoopShot and EasyShift apps and start earning money. Most apps give users tasks, such as taking pictures of an in-store display, in order to earn cash. It’s a simple yet effective way to generate money without getting a second job.

5. Participate in Market Research Groups
Market research groups pay as much as $150 for just a few hours of your time. Sign up at sites like Focus Pointe Global or Delve and fill out the qualification surveys. If your answers are in line with the demographic they’re looking for, you’ll be asked to complete a followup interview, followed by an in-person group discussion or an online forum.

Once you’ve built a modest nest egg for charitable giving, consider donating your funds to The Salvation Army. Donations go to community services such as homeless shelters and food banks, disaster relief, youth camps, and even recreation centers. It’s important to get your finances straight so you can continue to give, but you also want to make sure you’re giving to a reputable organization.

What other ways can you think of to generate extra charitable funds?