1. Give cash to a cause: Spring

Donations roll in from November to January, so by March nonprofits may be feeling the pinch. (If you're one of those holiday givers, consider setting up monthly payments instead of a lump-sum donation; organizations can plan the year more effectively when they can count on regular income.)

2. Give blood: Summer and winter.

Warm-weather vacations result in fewer regular donors, especially over the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends. Supplies are low in the winter, too, due to hectic holiday schedules and frigid weather.

3. Donate to a food bank: Summer.

No school means no free breakfast or lunch. During the 2015–16 school year, more than 20 million kids received meal assistance, but fewer than four million got a free meal during the 2016 summer break.

4. Volunteer for a political candidate: Late spring through fall of election years.

This is when most of the campaigning action happens. Just send an email offering to help, and the campaign will likely be happy to give you something to do. And don't forget midterm elections!

5. Donate clothing: Summer and winter.

Thrift stores appreciate new merchandise in the summertime, when they're probably already sold out of the spring-cleaning donations. And if you have coats or sweaters, mid to late winter is another good time to give: Many people drop off their cold-weather wear by the end of December for the tax write-off.

6. Volunteer at an animal shelter: Spring and summer.

Late spring is peak kitten season, and in warm weather there may be more strays at shelters since pets can wander from their backyards or escape through open doors or windows.


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