Giving to charity is immensely satisfying. In a world that seems increasingly bleak, it feels good to do something charitable just for the sake of making the world a better place. If you are wealthy or a small business owner, donating to charitable causes can be a great tax write-off as well. Whatever your motivations, there are many ways to donate to a charity.
More than just money– There are all sorts of charities out there that need your donations. But donating to charity doesn’t have to mean opening your wallet. There are thousands of organizations who are happy just to have your time as a volunteer. There are also many charities that are looking for different sorts of donations. Organizations such as Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and Planet Aid are always looking for used clothing, shoes, and winter jackets for families in need. Organizations such as the Lions Club and Unite for Sight accept donations of used eyeglasses and sunglasses for children in developing countries. Take some time to consider what is important to you. If you are passionate about the environment, see if there are any state parks or wildlife refuges that need volunteers. If you love senior citizens, consider volunteering for Meals on Wheels.
Kiva– Kiva.org is a website devoted to providing small business loans with lending institutions in developing nations around the globe. You make a donation through Kiva, which is then passed on to the bank. Your donation funds a small business loan for a business owner, which they will usually pay back within 6-12 months. The best part about Kiva is that you can choose exactly where your money goes. You can view each business owner’s personal profile, which includes their picture, a bio, and what they plan to use the loan for.
Voluntourism– The new trend in travel is a combination of a vacation and volunteering. Known as voluntourism, this hot new concept allows people to use their vacations at home and abroad to do a little good. There are many different websites that allow you to chose a vacation itinerary.
In addition to regular vacations, Intrepid Travel offers many different trips to locations including Fiji, India, Kenya, Peru, Vietnam, and many more. Each program is based in a small rural village, where you will partner with up to 12 other volunteers, and be supervised by experienced carpenters and craftsmen. You don’t need to be muscular or have building experience, you just need to be willing to make a difference.
At CrossCulturalSolutions.Org, you can volunteer abroad as a caregiver, a teacher, in the healthcare sector, and assisting with community development issues such as women’s empowerment. You can travel to Russia, Ghana, China, Brazil, and many other countries.
There are lots of other voluntourism programs out there, so do some research to see which one will be the best fit for you.