Last week we talked about a new mindfulness model for personal giving. One that is designed to help anyone find their specific philanthropic passion. The next step is narrowing down the organizations to support – based around your passion.
Today we’re here to talk about how to know what to give. It can be a truly helpless feeling, especially if you’ve seen first hand the issues you are wanting to help with. If you’ve seen starving dogs dying on the streets of India, or poverty and domestic violence that is going unnoticed in a country whose government doesn’t stand up for the most vulnerable, it can be excruciating.
But the only advice I can give at this point, is to just start. Remember that it doesn’t matter how much you give, just that you have made the first step of caring – and that you have passion for change. There’s unfortunately never been any magic dollar number or hours of volunteer work that has been proven to make more of a difference than others. So the most important thing is to just START.
Searching for THE Organization
If you are like me, you’ll have found quite a few organizations in your search for change that seem to be in line with the causes you’re passionate about. Time to learn and learn and learn even more about them! A great way to do this is to find them on social media – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. Most organizations are quite active here and you can get a good feel for their core values by watching and following what they are saying and sharing online. Obviously, a trip to their website will inform you of what they are about as well. If they have an e-newsletter, sign up! I am a big advocate of “getting to know” an organization so that you can be sure that your values align with theirs. This enables your contribution, however small it may be, to have a BIG impact.
Once you’ve narrowed it down to the organizations you are sure you want to help, here’s a variety of ways you can do so:
First, let me say that obviously money is a great instigator for change, but it’s not the only way. However with that being said, development organizations, NGOs, and nonprofits alike all need money to function.
Many donors complain about administration costs. I have a strong opinion on this one, because I DO believe we should be paying our charity officers fairly. Just like you pay an accountant to do your taxes and a dentist to clean your teeth, shouldn’t you pay a talented development expert to affect change in the biggest way possible? And shouldn’t they be able to live a quality life when doing that very important job?
That thought aside, organizations need money to achieve change in the communities they’re working in, both in Canada and abroad. They need to purchase bicycles, computers, school supplies, and seed; they need to pay school fees and healthcare costs, and they have to dig wells and buy materials for building homes. This list goes on and on. Money is always appreciated and will go far, for sure.
There are a lot of organizations who will take straight donations of house and yard furnishings, clothes, or books, in order to sell for a profit to fundraise for their organizations. These contributions matter and make a big difference. Plus, when you’re in the middle of a house reno (like I am right now) it can make the difference between a dump run and something much more productive. Choose to seek out alternative ways to get rid of “stuff”. Our world will be so much more efficient.
Volunteering is one of the great joys of my life. I have moved around a lot in my life and always become involved in volunteering upon landing in a new city. It connects me to my community and the people in it. If you are lucky enough to find a local organization that is doing the work you admire, get involved. Whether it’s once a year for an event or every Tuesday, you can make a big impact by giving simply lending your hands and your smile.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, next week we’ll get into a bit more detail about very specific apps that exist to increase your giving, websites where you can do your shopping, and other tips to involve philanthropy in your daily life.