How You Can Help With More Than Just Donations
Money helps. There’s no secret about that. But are there other ways that you can help charities without spending a dime? Keep reading to find out how your monetary and non-fiscal donations can help out your favorite local or international charity.
Money is one of the best ways that you can help an organization. As much as your time given through volunteer work is incredibly valuable, it doesn’t pay the rent. If you can spare a bit of your paycheck, monetary donations are a big help and depending on the amount, they can also be written off on your taxes. Most websites will make it very obvious how you can donate to them. If you want to make a donation but can’t spare the money, create a fundraiser! Asking for donations to your favorite charity instead of holiday or birthday gifts is a great way to give back. Food for Life is an organization that promotes ethical and environmental stability through vegan food programs focused on sub-Saharan Africa. A small donation of just $10 can feed 20 children or, if you can spare a little more, $50 can feed 200 children. From these numbers alone you can see just how valuable your monetary donations are. Donate today!
Donations Through Skilled Labor
One great way to help charities is to donate your skilled labor. There may not be a volunteer position listed that fits your skill set, so send an email to the organization. For example, if you’re an electrician you can provide a great deal of value to a charity through just an hour of volunteer work that they would otherwise have to pay for. Here are some ideas of questions to ask yourself:
- What do I do for work?
- What do I enjoy doing?
- What do people think I’m good at?
- What is second nature to me?
- What do people compliment me on?
These questions can help you narrow down your skill set, which you can then bring to an organization.
While similar to donating your skilled labor, volunteer work is a little more general. Many organizations have volunteer roles already designed in order to get a specific type of help. An animal shelter might need help cleaning animal areas or a soup kitchen might need help on the cleanup line. At Food for Life, we need a great deal of volunteer assistance on the virtual side. Because we need people with specific training who are helping to give out food on the ground, we can use virtual volunteer help. Food for Life needs everyone from media kit experts to Google Console geniuses. If the charity that you’re hoping to help doesn’t seem to have any volunteer opportunities available online, reach out via email. Most of the time, organizations need consistent volunteers so that they don’t have to keep retraining people. Often, you might find that there are no opportunities to volunteer on days like Thanksgiving or Christmas, but during the summer organizations need a great deal of help.
Donate Things That You Grow
Did you know that you can donate without spending money or very much time? Here are a few ideas:
- Hair: Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy often lose hair due to the process. If you have long hair you can donate it to be made into a wig. Just be careful about the organization that you donate your hair to, as some organizations charge patients to purchase the wig making it not a charity.
- Blood: The Red Cross often runs blood drives in local schools or public areas like a library. Blood is carefully drawn and used for patients in surgery or who need immediate blood transfusions. You can’t have any diseases that are transmitted by blood if you want to donate. All blood types are valuable, but if you’re O negative, really consider donating. Your blood can be used for people of all blood types. Even more importantly, people who have an O negative blood type can only receive blood from other O negative types. You could literally be saving a life with your blood donations.
- Breast Milk: Breast milk is an incredibly valuable donation. Many wish to feed their babies breastmilk but whether they can’t produce, or a female is not part of the equation (adoption, single-parent, death, gay couple, etc.), any extra breast milk that you can donate will make a big difference in a family’s life.
- Organs: With just a short registration online or at the DMV, you can donate your organs to be used after you die. Things like hearts, lungs, kidneys, livers, irises and more can be used to save lives.
Things That You Should Not Donate
There are some items that you should never donate because you’ll inevitably cause more work for the people at charities.
- Unusable Clothing: If you deem it unwearable because of a stain or rip, most other people will too. By tossing items like this into your donation box you’re creating more work for the people who have to go through these items.
- Broken Technology: Any toys or electronics that are no longer working and can’t easily be fixed should not be added to the donation bin since they’ll likely end up in the trash. Instead, look into recycling electronic items in an area near you.
- Expired or Recalled Items: Easy enough to understand, if it’s not safe for you to eat or use because of an expiry date or a recall, it’s not safe for anyone else.
Is It Better to Volunteer or Donate?
This answer is going to vary by organization. Almost every charity can probably use monetary help, but some skills can’t be purchased. If you’re passionate about working with a homeless community and you have good people skills, you’re probably going to be more valuable as a volunteer. However, if you’re a bit unsure about your skill set but you still want to help, a donation of items or money will never be turned down.
Now that you have a better understanding of all the great ways that you can help out your favorite charities around the world, why not help us! At Food for Life, we’re working to feed millions of starving and malnourished families and children. Donate or volunteer today!