October 31, 2015 NOW Foundation

Donation Tips For Giving to the Needy

Do you know that it’s easier than most people believe to make the world a better place? Not only do contributions to charity help those in need, they give those who use their time, money, or material possessions a sense of positivity and purpose. It’s so easy to make yourself and another person happy and you don’t have to be rich or have a lot of free time!

Most people know of some simple ways to give away what they aren’t using to those who are less fortunate, so I’m not going to go over tips on how to rid yourself of clutter. I’m sure you already know the donation centres at Goodwill and the Salvation Army. Do you know, however, that many places will help you organise a yard sale so that you can donate the money to the charity of your choosing? You can offer them a donation in order to use a parking lot, as well as ask others to get involved by selling items they no longer have any use for, such as clothing, car seats and toys that the children have outgrown. People will often even give extra monetary donations when they know that part or all of the money will be given to the Red Cross or other relief organisations. Drinks, including soda and water can be sold as well to encourage browsing the sale for a longer period so that more money can be raised. If you don’t have items to donate but have skills, consider having a bake sale with homemade food or a crafts fair where people can sell handmade jewellery and artwork. Be sure to place advertisements with local businesses and classifieds to make the community aware of when and where the sale will be.

Not only can you donate clothing to something like this, there are parishes that take donations for the poor and also to make items that the poor are in desperate need of. I recently participated in a parish activity that involved cutting jeans so that they could be sewn into shoes. Donations were taken of old jeans leading up to the event and each pair of jeans made several pairs of shoes for those in third world countries to help prevent infections and diseases from walking barefoot. It’s all too easy for an infection that could have been easily cured to result in death due to lack of medical care in places like Africa, Haiti, and Mexico. Don’t ever feel that you have to limit your charity to one place alone when there are so many needs to fill in a global culture! Many of us only think of our local neighbourhood when deciding to do charity works, and while charity starts at home, it doesn’t have to be limited to home.

If you don’t have time but are into DIY, there are cheap art supplies online through auction sites like eBay. If you find yourself bored, you could make items to list online with etsy and put in your description a statement about which charity will benefit from your sales. If you’re not good with your hands, but take photos and like to add stylistic text to them for your friends and family, you could open a redbubble and donate the profits. The possibilities are truly endless, and you wouldn’t be wasting your time or talents. Even having only a few of your products listed as charity items will benefit others in ways that you couldn’t imagine right now. It only takes a couple of pounds to help remind someone of human kindness when they haven’t experienced it in far too long, who is trying to overcome adversity despite the emotional toll they’ve paid just to get up in the morning. This can be true for anyone in need, but especially forgotten veterans and their families who have had their hearts broken and faced a hard future after fighting to keep everyone safe. It can be true for an unwed pregnant mother who doesn’t know where she will be when the baby is born because it’s not working out with the father.

And if you’re the sort who prefers to know more about a project or person before you help, you don’t even have to leave your home thanks to sites like GoFundMe, KickStarter, and IndieGoGo. I’ve used GoFundMe myself and helped promote KickStarters for things I’m interested in supporting. You could donate directly to one after reading the information the organiser has posted, or you could start your own and set your own limits on what you think will be doable to help. Maybe you’re interested in feminist issues. If so, there are online funding projects, which focus on specifics such as helping homeless women with feminine hygiene products or items of self-defence – mace, personal alarms, and free cell phones to leave an abuser. Alternatively, if you’re the type with a soft spot for children’s advocacy, you could start or support one which makes items to help minors. This might take the form of therapy bears for police interviews, toys to keep at the homeless shelter when it isn’t time for a Christmas Toy Drive, or it could be used to publish a children’s book that helps deal with difficult situations.

You’re interested in mental health issues? Then focus your time and energy on helping affected individuals of a specific disease such as schizophrenia, depression, or anxiety disorders such as PTSD. Autism falls under the umbrella category of mental health issues, although whether it can be labelled a disease is still a matter of fierce debate amongst those who are autistic and their families. I don’t consider it a disease myself, but more of an impediment to normal life because my son is quite gifted intellectually and does not want the stigma associated with the word. Because it has a personal attachment, I like to focus on new ways to help autistics interact with their community and family, but each person has their own preference. Just remember to be creative, passionate, and not limit yourself in the way you approach charitable giving!

This article doesn’t include click throughs for those who have a GoFundMe or sites such as Good Search that give a small amount for each search or click, but they do exist, and Good Search has been as useful to me as top-ranked search engines such as Google or Bing by Microsoft. It’s really simple to set your homepage to one of these so that if you’re using your computer to give steady help without the pressure of the listed methods, you can give daily assistance. Most click through types are only done for a limited amount of time, but there are sites which give bowls of rice to hungry families using short quizzes that can be done in just a few minutes.