Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Strapped for cash? Give your time instead

When you hear about all the tragedies happening around the world, it’s easy to feel helpless. You might have bills piling up at home, mouths to feed or debts to clear, making it difficult for you to commit to charity direct debits or even drop loose change into collection boxes. However, giving isn’t just about money. Even if you’re strapped for cash, you can help to save lives and create a better future for others by donating your time instead. Here are some ways you can make a difference.

Take part in or organise a fundraising challenge
Fancy challenging yourself while helping others? Then why not sign up for a fundraising event this year? From charity fun runs, to hikes, to marathons, there’s plenty you can do to raise money and improve your fitness levels. If you’d prefer something more sedate, you can take part in everything from sponsored knitathons, to reading challenges, to quizzes and competitions. You could also boost your health and raise cash by giving up alcohol for a period of time. Some challenges even allow you to see the world. For example, www.humanappeal.org.uk runs events abroad from time to time and offers to reimburse some travel costs if you hit certain fundraising targets.

If you can’t find a suitable challenge to take part in, why not use your initiative and organise your own activity? Most charities are happy to give advice and support to people looking to set up events to raise money for them. Why not get in touch with a charity of your choice for information? It doesn’t have to be hard work. You can get your friends, colleagues, or even your kids involved and have fun while you’re at it. Whether you are a natural organiser or just want to stretch yourself, arranging an activity for charity can be highly rewarding.

Volunteer at charity events
Charities are usually crying out for volunteers to lend a hand at all sorts of activities, from bake sales, to balls, to athletic events. From encouraging attendees to have a go at a tombola, to cheering runners around courses, to stewarding at music festivals, there’s so much to get involved in - and all in the name of a good cause. Volunteering your time at events not only helps to raise funds for those in need, it can help you to develop new skills and make new friends too. It also looks great on your CV as it shows you are motivated, community-minded and can act as a team player.

Promote charities online
If you feel passionate about a certain cause, or you just want to find out more about what charitable organisations do, it’s a good idea to follow them on social media. Whether you’re a Facebook aficionado, a Twitter devotee or an Instagram fan, you can get informed about issues charities are tackling and ways you can help. You can take things a step further by spreading awareness around causes you feel strongly about by liking and sharing posts online and creating your own updates telling people about the work of charitable causes. You never know who you might inspire.

Of course, we all lead busy lives and, with jobs, families, friends and hobbies, it may seem like you simply can’t cram any more into your schedule. But all it takes is a little creativity. You could organise a coffee morning with your colleagues at lunchtime, use your quality time with the kids to take part in a fun run, catch up with your mates at a charity ball or turn your love of anything from dance, to pottery, to photography into a fundraising activity with a bit of ingenuity.

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