Many of us want to give to charity but it isn’t always possible to give money when you’re struggling financially yourself. This doesn’t mean that you can’t demonstrate your support in other ways. If you have a few hours spare in the average week, why not volunteer your time to a local charity close to your heart?
The Benefits for You
It’s not just a one-way street – volunteering can have some bonuses for you too.
- Experience: Voluntary work can be added to your CV as work experience, which can be especially helpful if you’ve got gaps in your work history or want to gain skills for the first time or in a new area. Many people get involved in volunteering while job hunting to keep their CV fresh and up-to-date while they’re out of work.
- The feel-good factor: It can be very rewarding to feel that you’re doing your bit to help a particular charity achieve its goals. The majority of charities rely heavily on volunteers to perform behind-the-scenes roles and while tasks like admin and reception work might not sound very glamorous, they’re often vital for successful day-to-day running of an organisation.
How to Get Involved in Volunteering
If you’re interested in volunteering, there are a couple of ways that you can get the ball rolling.
- Direct contact: If you’ve got a particular charity in mind, try contacting them directly and see what their needs are. In a small charity, it may be a case of agreeing to plug a gap in their needs and if size and space is an issue, they may not always be able to take on new volunteers right away.
- Volunteer agencies: If you’re not so fussed about where you volunteer, your best bet may be a volunteer agency. They have volunteer centres across the country and can match you up with volunteer vacancies that suit your skills and experience.
Other Ways to Give on a Budget
If volunteering isn’t for you, there are other ways to be charitable without spending:
- Change your search engine. Most of us use search engines on a regular basis so this is an easy way to help charities to raise money without donating yourself. Check out the likes of everyclick.com to see the range of charities that you can support.
- Donate unwanted items. Wherever you live, chances are that there is at least one charity that would benefit from unwanted clothes, toys, bric-a-brac and other items that are still in good condition.
- Donate blood. If you’re able to give blood, you can make a big difference to someone’s life. Heck, you might even save one.
- Fundraise. Get others to sponsor you to take part in events to raise money for a designated charity. This can be as part of a big event like Race for Life to raise funds for a national charity or a much smaller event for a local charity.
- Donate your eBay profits. Once you’ve sold items on eBay, you can choose to donate some or all of the profit to a designated charity. Have a look at eBay.com/charity to see if your preferred recipient is signed up. If not, you can send them an invitation to register themselves.
- Donate your tax refund. If you’ve paid too much tax and are due a refund, you can choose to donate it to charity rather than keep it for yourself.
While it’s easy to feel that your contribution isn’t worthwhile if it doesn’t come out of your own pocket, charitable giving comes in a range of different forms. Volunteering for an organization or helping them to raise funds can be just as valuable as giving money directly and most charities will be extremely grateful for your support.
So, do you donate to charities? What kinds of methods do you use?