The holidays might be over, but you can still embrace the spirit of giving. Here are just a few ways to support your community, champion your favorite causes and help those in need.
1. Volunteer Your Services
Soup kitchens need people to pour the soup. Animal shelters need someone to socialize with the critters. Even office-based organizations might need someone to answer phones or organize files. You’ll never know what kinds of volunteer opportunities are out there until you get on the phone and make some calls.
2. Sponsor a Child Overseas
Sponsorship programs allow children in third-world countries to afford food, clothes, shelter and educational opportunities. Some organizations even allow you to pick the child that you sponsor based on supplied profiles. If you want to support a little girl in Ghana who dreams of becoming a doctor, you can find one through these groups.
3. Support a Nonprofit
There are many ways to help a charity that don’t involve giving money. For example, if you’re a fan of the National Endowment for Democracy, they offer fellowship programs for interested individuals. You can also volunteer, rise funds or just bring awareness to the group by engaging with them on social media.
4. Browse the Internet
Believe it or not, but you can utilize the power of the web for charitable giving. For example, there are online stores that will earmark a certain percentage of your purchase to charity, and there are groups that will donate to charity for every “like” or “retweet” that they receive on social media. There are even browser games that you can play that will increase clicks and revenue for nonprofits.
5. Donate Blood or Plasma
This is one of the simplest ways to help because blood is always in demand at hospitals and clinics. If you don’t want to donate blood, you can also donate plasma. It’s pretty much the same procedure, and it will help those in need just as much. Contact your local blood bank to see if you meet the requirements for donation.
6. Donate Your Unused Goods
Most people know about canned food drives, but were you aware that you can also donate things like clothes, toys, toiletries, electronics and gift cards? If there’s something in your home that you aren’t using but don’t want to throw away, contact your local homeless shelter and see if they need it.
7. Subscribe to the Cause
If you aren’t quite ready to jump headfirst into volunteer or activist work, you can get your feet wet by simply following the right people and places on social media. If you can, participate in their hashtagging and signal-boosting efforts. Raising awareness is an important part of charity work, too.
8. Participate in Charitable Events
Whether it’s racing for a cure or protesting for democracy, the world is full of opportunities like this. Look into the National Endowment for Democracy business and other similar organizations to get started. Your voice is one of the most powerful tools that you have in terms of making a difference, so don’t be afraid to use it.
These are just a few ways to be more charitable in your everyday life. Don’t be limited by these suggestions, however. If you can think of another way to give back, don’t hesitate to put it into action. Good causes always need good people behind them.