Open Your Heart All Year Long
Every year, the festive season stirs a range of emotions in us and because of this, charities give their biggest marketing push to drum up donations in the weeks leading up to Christmas time. In recent years, corporate charity appeals have become a Christmas tradition. After all, isn’t Christmas a time for giving?
Actually, Every Day Is for Giving
Just because the festive season is a strategic time to ask people to dig deeper and give more, it doesn’t mean that it’s the only time of the year that we should be doing what we can for others who are less fortunate. For most, the end of the year is the time to take a little break from the pressures of everyday life and focus on the unique period that is the festive season. Consequently, many experience increased feelings of empathy, which can lead to thinking about charities and causes that we care about. Driven by emotion and charity marketing campaigns, individuals and corporations are more likely to give during this time.
Sadly, these charities and causes are not only in need in December. People are homeless and hungry; animals are abused and abandoned every single day of the year, and those are not the only charities in need of all the help they can get all the time.
How to Help All Year Long
Instead of only volunteering or donating to charity during Christmas time, we should use this period as a time to reflect on what we’ve done over the past year and how we can better apply our efforts in the coming year. Here are some ideas for keeping the charitable spirit flowing all year long.
Get active on JustGiving
JustGiving is an excellent platform for people who want to become actively involved in charity campaigns based on what’s close to their hearts and what they enjoy doing. You simply sign up, select a cause you want to support, and then decide how you would like to help them raise funds. Options include taking part in an event like a charity bike ride or walk, celebrating an occasion, or doing something in memory of somebody close to you. There is even a personal challenge option through which you can do something unique to raise funds like shaving your head or giving up beer.
By donating blood on a regular basis, you can directly help save lives. It also has a surprising range of health benefits like improving liver function and helping to reduce the risk of heart failure and cancer.
Volunteer at an animal shelter
Animal shelters are often severely short-staffed and short on funds. Everyone really can do something to help the animals who live there, even you aren’t able to adopt or foster one. You could take the dogs for walks or spend some quality cuddle time with the cats. Some shelters have charity shops where you can help out for a few hours a week. You could also assist with fundraising events or adoption drives by sharing their posts on social media.
Run a race for charity
Keen to get fit and do something for a good cause at the same time? There are so many charity running programs around these days, you’ll be hard-pressed to choose! There are programs that offer training and other support like workout plans and nutritional advice as well as the option to join group runs. It gives you the amazing opportunity to connect with a network of like-minded people who all support the same cause.
Volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen
There is always a need for an extra pair of helping hands at homeless shelters and soup kitchens. This is also a great way to meet new people who are also interested in doing their part to make the world a better place.
Set up a debit order donation or shop from socially responsible companies
Not everyone has the time or the social ability to become actively involved with a charity in a personal capacity. The good news is that they can still help in
- some way. You could consider setting up a monthly debit order to make a regular donation or you could support companies that take an active approach to charity. For example, consider Everlane, a company that donates $5 to charity for every purchase of their Human Collection line. Or take STATE, which for every bag bought fills another bag with school supplies and donates it to a student in need.
Ask for donations instead of gifts
If you have a special occasion coming up like a birthday, engagement, or a wedding, why not ask for donations to a special cause close to your heart instead of gifts for yourself? Just like setting up a wedding registry, you could ask for specific items or cash donations for your charity.