Blood donation is something the world is in constant need of, and everyone has it, so this gift can be relatively easy to give, unless you have health problems (recent colds or stuffy noses) or other circumstances (like tattoos or recent travel outside of the United States) that prevent you from doing so (don’t get us started on the FDA’s policy on gay male donors, which is discriminatory and outdated, even if it’s slowly starting to change).
The American Red Cross accepts money and goods as donations, but often when you give blood at blood drives, donors are offered something in return, like a gift card. You could even double down on the giving by donating said gift card to someone in need.
Just make sure you’re contacting the correct Red Cross. “Sometimes charity scammers will use a name that’s very similar to a well-known charity name, [like] the Direct Cross of America instead of the American Red Cross,” Kalivas says. “It’s done intentionally so that people get confused and think they’re giving to the Red Cross when they’re not.” Other “scams” to look for include unsolicited calls from telemarketers or direct mail asking for money.
For more information on charity research, visit these resources: Candid, Charity Check 101, Charity Navigator, GiveWell, Great NonProfits, GuideStar, and the IRS.