Article Written by Elena Stewart
Most people would like to do more for their community and other underserved communities across the world, but there are two main impediments: time and money. If we didn’t have to go to jobs every day, we didn’t find ourselves burdened with familial obligations, and we had unlimited financial resources, then we could all spend more time giving back. The reality is we are busy, but there are still ways you and your family can get more involved in charitable giving, which not only helps others but can boost your own mental health as well. Here’s how.
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Charitable organizations are the only places in the world where cold calling is welcomed with open arms. If you think it’s hard to get involved in a local charitable organization, try walking into one and asking if they need any help. Visit your local homeless shelters, hospice centers, hospitals, churches, schools, and women’s shelters. There’s a misconception out there that you have to spend hours and hours helping every week to make it worthwhile – as if charitable organizations are going to turn you away if you can only spare an hour or so. When it comes to volunteering your time, anything helps. As Lifehacker notes, if one place doesn’t need you at that exact moment, they’ll be sure to know someone who does.
Scour the web
Charitable organizations are part of the 21st century, and they know that most people would rather surf the net for opportunities than walk door-to-door. You can find tons of calls for help online. There are even websites that aggregate volunteer opportunities and allow you to search a database which you can filter based on your preferences.
Hold your own fundraiser
If you don’t have the money lying around to donate to a charitable cause, why not do something to make the money? Holding a fundraiser for a specific cause is fun, easy, and highly effective. Talk to your local bars, restaurants, churches, and community centers. Most will be happy to provide a space for you to hold your fundraiser. Use the power of social media to spread word of the event. Ask local businesses to donate items that you can auction off to benefit the charity of your choosing. This is a wonderful way to get your kids involved, as they can make calls for you, help with planning the events for your fundraiser, and even sell crafts or refreshments at the event for some extra money. Start here for tips about planning your first fundraiser.
Start at home
Want an easy way to be charitable that doesn’t cost your family a single dime, and will also benefit your home life? You can declutter your house and provide essential items to local charities like animal shelters, homeless shelters, and food pantries – think old blankets, clothing, bedding, furniture, and canned food. One important thing to remember: junk is still junk. Just because someone is in need, it doesn’t mean they can make something useful if it’s broken, soiled, or spoiled.
Another way you could use your home for charity is to donate food from your garden. If you don’t have a garden on your property, you and your family can grow one. Starting a garden can be hard work, especially if you don’t have a plot to grow in. If you need some extra support, hire a local landscaping service to get you started. Before choosing a landscaper, simply search “landscapers near me” and look over reviews and feedback of services in your area.
Although charity is about providing for the needs of others, it may help you keep up with your charitable work if you pick a cause or two that truly means something to you. There are thousands of organizations to choose from when deciding how to spend your time and money. Charitable work is one of the most rewarding things you can do, and you should instill its importance in your children as early as you can.