As I mentioned in my last post, I’d like to give more to charity. Here are some ideas I’ve come up with:
1. Volunteer. Most charitable organizations need your time. Can’t commit to a regular schedule? Look for a special event–walkathon, gala, etc, and volunteer just for that. There’s lots of good websites to help you out. I signed up with volunteermatch.org today (you have to sign in to browse listings) and found lots of opportunities.
There’s things like the Plant-A-Tree Day which only happen once, places like a pet shelter which ask people to come in and play with the animals when they have time, and other places like a suicide hotline and clothing closet which require more training and a longer commitment.
Another good place is idealist.org. They have job opportunities in the non-profit world and volunteer stuff as well.
2. Donate your skills. This can be done in two ways. One is by volunteering with a charity to use your specific skills, like building a house if you’re good with hammers. The second is using your hobbies to produce things and then either giving them to the charity or selling them for the charity.
Let’s focus on production. I happen to have a passion for quilting. So I’ve looked up various quilting charities to see what they want. Most want donations, but they’ll do different things with them.
However, maybe you’re passionate about animal rights or social justice in Darfur. What can you do for them with a quilt? or a painting? or blogging?
You can sell it yourself! (ok, with the blog it’s more like getting sponsors) You like blogging and you wish you could do more for Darfur? Great, start blogging passionately about it. Tell stories, give information, try to interview people. Then find sponsors, people who will donate money to you or straight to some organization you think is helping.
Personally, I like a lot of things World Vision does. Their relief program is excellent and they have comparatively little overhead. So I’m selling this quilt to raise money for them. Because (I hope) it can do more good than if I were to just give them the quilt. They’re less equipped for things like that.
Maybe you’re already doing things like that, but this stuff only hit me recently, so I hope these ideas make a difference to someone.
3. Unclutter. Lastly, consider how uncluttering can help a group you like!
Uncluttering your home–maybe you’re uncluttering your house and have plenty of good (emphasis on good, not junk!) clothes that you simply don’t wear. Are they business worthy? Consider a clothing closet. Are they high-end? You could always sell them on e-bay, consignment, etc and give the money away. Are they just good stuff? Give them to a group that works with the homeless or that will sell them to raise money for its programs. Similarly for items.
Uncluttering your schedule–maybe this doesn’t seem like a good time to add something new. But consider volunteering with a group you really love. Maybe you’ve gotten down to a 20 hour workweek. Could you spend two or three playing with kittens? Would that be therapeutic for you as well?
Uncluttering your spending–obviously, if you’re cutting back on spending to reduce debt, you probably want to keep your efforts there. But say you’re thinking that the coffee habit is really costing you. You can afford it, you just don’t want to be addicted. What else can you do with the money? Give it to a place that makes you feel so good that you can more easily resist the caffeine demon.