Another Way to Donate
If you really want to support a charity or a cause but just don’t have the financial means right now, consider donating your time instead of money. Time is a very valuable resource and charities are always looking for volunteers. Volunteers are the lifeblood of charities and are what keeps them running. For without volunteers, charities may have to close operations. Make sure you choose a cause you are passionate about and look for opportunities that match your skills, interests, and schedule. For example, if you like kids, volunteer at Big Brother; if you like animals, try an animal shelter; if you like the outdoors, volunteer to clean up beaches or highways.
Opportunities to volunteer are all around you. Your employer probably has ties to charities. Your friends may be involved with charities. Your church probably has a variety of volunteer opportunities. Websites like Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org) provide helpful information. Your local newspaper, family and friends can also help.
Before you volunteer, research charities just like you would if you were donating money. You want to make sure your time and effort goes into a legitimate cause. Next, contact the charity to find out what the volunteer needs are and if your skills and interests match those needs. Once you are accepted as a volunteer, it is important to commit yourself to it. Be passionate about the cause, be professional and understand how much you are helping others.
Here are a couple of internet websites that I like and can help you find volunteer opportunities:
- www.volunteermatch.org. Volunteer Match is an online service that matches your interest and schedule with community service opportunities in your area. It is the preferred volunteer recruiting service for thousands of nonprofits.
- www.campfireusa.org. Camp Fire USA builds caring, confident youth and future leaders. They provide safe, fun, and nurturing environment for children and youth.
- www.standupforkids.org. StandUp For Kids helps homeless and street kids. It is run almost entirely by volunteers and provides many services like food, shelter, counseling, and health services.
When we volunteer our time, our money, or our talents, we help make the world a better place for everyone. When you give from the heart, your experience is deeply rewarding and you feel good about yourself. When you give, everyone wins.