09:49 06 February 2017
It requires commitment, diligence and effort, but it’s an amazing feeling to know that you’re doing something worthwhile and helping to make the world a better place. It’s also, for many people, a way to respond to challenges in their own life, such as working for a cancer charity in tribute to a loved one who died of the disease, or working to create opportunities for young people after emerging from a difficult childhood. Even when we can’t help ourselves, we can often help others – but how can you go about it?
The easiest way to get involved with a charity is to do some fundraising. All charities need money, and many have schemes set up to make volunteering like this simple. You could sign up for a sponsored event such as a fun run, help out with a fundraising stall at a village fête, or persuade your co-workers to contribute to an office collection. Even if you’re in a position to make a substantial donation yourself, you can always contribute more by inspiring others to join you. You can also look at options for generating ongoing funding, such as persuading people to pledge a few pounds a month. Small regular donations can be more useful than single big ones because being able to predict future income makes it easier for charities to plan and use their funds efficiently.
Alongside funds, charities are always in need of volunteers, both skilled and unskilled. If you have particular skills that might be of use to a charity – for example, in admin, IT or marketing – you can use online databases to advertise yourself as a volunteer and try to link up with a charity that needs that kind of help. If you have sector-specific skills such as a medical qualification or experience in youth work, you can approach relevant charities to see if they have opportunities for you. If you’re unskilled, there are all sorts of ways in which you may be able to help, and charities can actually boost your CV by providing a bit of basic training. You could, for instance, be a steward at an event, contribute food to a bake sale, or drive people to and from meetings.
Finding the right charity
In order to get the most out of doing charity work, you need to find an organisation that’s right for you. Most people think first of big-name charities such as Cancer Research or Shelter, but there are also lots of small, local ones that are really in need of support. You can look up smaller charities such as the Tigers Sport and Education Trust, Birmingham Dogs’ Home or the Penny Appeal on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook to find out more about what they do and what kinds of help they’re looking for. Getting involved with a smaller charity can make a massive difference to what it can achieve.
Charities couldn’t keep going without people like you. Even if you can only do a little, it can be a big help, and it can also make an amazing difference in your life.