How to donate to charities during the current economic downturn

Charity is crucial in promoting social progress and addressing pressing global challenges, yielding a plethora of benefits for both individuals and communities. One of the most significant advantages of charitable actions is their ability to alleviate suffering and provide critical resources to those in need.

Whether it’s providing food, clean water, medical care, or shelter to underserved populations, charities act as a lifeline for vulnerable people, assisting them in overcoming adversity and providing a ray of hope for a better future.

Furthermore, charitable efforts can help to redistribute wealth and resources, thereby contributing to a more equitable society by closing the gap between the privileged and the marginalized. This not only promotes social cohesion, but also gives disadvantaged communities the tools they need to break free from cycles of poverty and exclusion.

Beyond the immediate material impact, charitable activities foster personal growth and a sense of purpose in donors and volunteers. Individuals who volunteer their time, skills, or resources feel a profound sense of fulfillment and satisfaction from making a positive difference in the lives of others.

Charity fosters empathy, compassion, and a broader perspective on the world’s challenges, fostering a greater understanding of humanity’s interconnectedness. Furthermore, charitable activities can foster a sense of community and belonging by bringing people together to work toward common goals.

This communal aspect of charity strengthens social bonds and fosters a collective determination to confront complex issues, reinforcing the idea that a society thrives when its members lift one another up.

During the cost-of-living crisis, many charities have struggled. It is clear that many people still want to help good causes, and that charities and volunteer organizations are more needed than ever. However, it is obvious that there is less money and time to go around.

According to the Benefact Group’s value of giving report for 2022, while more people donated to charity last year, they gave less. In 2022, charitable donations in the United Kingdom totaled £4.3 billion, down from £9.3 billion in 2021.

Begin small and local.

Donate items to a local charity shop or cause. Alternatively, you could volunteer; charities often value your time as much as your money.

If you have school-age children, you might want to join or start a parent-teacher association.

Consider asking family and friends to sponsor you for shaving your head or participating in a walk or run. Alternatively, ask for donations to sell at boot sales or jumble sales.

Examine your garbage

Items that are frequently discarded can frequently be used to raise funds.

For example, contact your local Crisp Packet Project group and send in your used, clean crisp packets to be turned into items like blankets for the homeless.

Alternatively, donate milk bottle tops to the Friends of Water Search and Rescue Team. A recycling company converts them into pellets for the production of hard plastic items such as traffic bollards and traffic cones and donates them to charity.

Alternatively, you can use your used ink cartridges to raise funds for a charity, school, or non-profit organization. For more information, visit the Recycle4Charity website.

Fundraise on your birthday

Set up a fundraiser for your Facebook contacts so they can donate instead of giving you gifts and cards.

Flic Louise Everett raised £500 for Refugee Action for her 50th birthday two years ago, while Laura Schofield raised £250 for the mental health charity Mind. Schofield says she “asked my FB [Facebook] friends to donate £5 if they had struggled with a mental health disorder… “I was deeply moved by the outpouring of support.”

Johanne Stimson’s mother died of motor neurone disease (MND) in 2008, just 10 months after being diagnosed. Johanne volunteers on a local MND committee and raises funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. She says it just made sense to her to use the fundraising opportunities provided by Facebook to reach out to all of her contacts who might not know why MND is so important to her. “Post once in the morning and once in the evening every day of a two-week campaign,” she advises fundraisers. Post on LinkedIn as well. I’ve hit targets of around £300-500, and I’m seeing money come in every time I post.”

Donate without spending a dime.

Easyfundraising works with over 7,000 brands, including household names like Amazon, John Lewis, and Marks & Spencer, to donate a portion of your purchases to a charity of your choice. Most brands donate a percentage of what you spend with them, though some retailers pay a flat fee. Go to the website to look for or register a cause.

Give as you can Live Online operates in a similar manner.

Consider organizing an event. Discuss your options with your family, friends, and professional contacts. A karaoke night, cake sale, street party, talent show, or charity auction are all possibilities.

Dave Blood underwent two life-saving open heart surgeries. The second provided a mechanical aortic valve at a cost of more than £30,000 to the NHS. He is a former stand-up comedian who hosts an annual comedy night in aid of the British Heart Foundation, “Cardiac Comedy,” to raise funds to become “valve neutral,” and has raised approximately £27,000 since 2013. Actors volunteer their time. “After the first one, it was much easier because everyone had a good time,” Blood says, “so they returned, and each year it’s grown.”

Combine your efforts

Consider the skills you could share with others to help them create something and reach more people.

Becca Maberly contacted illustrator Stacie Swift on Instagram and inquired about creating something to help mothers feel less alone. Buggy Tag was created. When hung on your buggy, it indicates to others that you are available for a chat or to assist a fellow parent. The entire profit is donated to the charity Pandas. Swift suggests “finding people whose values align with yours and whose skills complement yours.”

Donate your clutter to charity.

Decluttering expert Janine McDonald claims that clearing the clutter is “good for your mind, heart, and soul,” and that you can also raise money for charity. If you don’t want to sell the items yourself, some charities will come and pick up the boxes of stuff you’ve decluttered.

Spread the word

Perform some random acts of kindness, such as food bank donations, volunteering, or simply saying something nice.

Lauren Frost lost her son Leo only eight days after birth in 2018, following fertility treatment and IVF. Lauren and her husband created the hashtag #rak4leo on what would have been his first birthday, February 5, 2019. She encourages others to perform random acts of kindness in order to feel good and pass it on. The Honest Family website includes links to wishlists for charities looking for specific items.

Consider crowdsourcing

Use a website like Crowdfunder to ask supporters to donate to a project in exchange for a reward. However, be aware of any additional fees that may apply, such as platform fees and transaction fees.

Jan Kiley raised £5,490 from 190 supporters in 41 days for the charity Dogs for Autism in 2020. She offered certificates, T-shirts, and the opportunity to meet the dogs in exchange for donations.

Kiley made use of the Aviva Community Fund website, which collaborates with Crowdfunder. “The charity was in its early days, and we were looking at various forms of fundraising,” she says, adding, “and although I’d never done a crowdfunder before, the Aviva team were so helpful that we went with them.”

Use free resources

The Charity Excellence Framework offers a wealth of resources to help charities with funding bids, fundraising research, planning, and campaigns. It provides a “funding finder” database in addition to links to hundreds of other free grant funding databases and online funder lists.

Be legal and compliant.

If you are running a competition on a website such as Facebook, exercise caution. If you violate the rules, your page may be removed. You may also be in violation of the law.

Lotteries include raffles, tombolas, and sweepstakes. Check out the Gambling Commission’s advice on the types of lotteries that can be run without a license and the rules that may apply.

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