When you think of the word ‘donation’, you’ll probably envisage a charity raising money, or maybe someone gifting a bag of unwanted-but-good-quality clothing to their local charity shop.
Whilst these are common methods of donation, there are other ways you can support charities as an individual or business that doesn’t necessarily mean parting with your hard-earned or hard-won cash.
For instance, a charity in Harrogate asks people to donate their unwanted mobility aids, such as wheelchairs, crutches and walkers, which they then redistribute amongst their beneficiaries who may not be able to afford to purchase them, in a bid to improve their mobility and accessibility. I know of a charity in Wakefield who works with stroke sufferers and those who have lost their ability to talk fluently. They use computer programs to practise speech with their beneficiaries, so that they can improve their communication skills. This charity is always in need of donated tablets and laptops in working order that can be left with clients in-between speech sessions, so that they can practise every day.
Some businesses have been left with lots of empty offices following the pandemic, after implementing remote working or a hybrid model. A few of these businesses have offered desk space/rooms to local charities to use at very low rates, or even for free, as a way of giving back to their local community.
The most obvious alternative to cash donations is to donate your time. It’s fair to say that every charity could benefit from more volunteers to help deliver the kind of support they offer. That said, to train volunteers, you typically need a suitable space for the training, paper/ink supplies to print relevant documents needed for their onboarding, time for someone to administrate the volunteers’ DBS requirements, maybe even suitable clothing if your ambassadors wear a uniform. Though the hardest part is finding people with the time to donate, that’s only part of the puzzle—much more is needed to bring that volunteer on board and get them ready to give support; it’s rare that they can just be let loose from the off.
Donating your time doesn’t have to mean a lot of commuting. Virtual volunteering is becoming more popular, particularly due to the pandemic, when a lot of charities were forced to move their fundraising events online. These events still need organising and promoting, and almost every charity in existence would benefit from more help and more hands on deck when it comes to raising awareness online and via social media.
With living costs rising as fast as they are, fewer people will have spare money to donate, so it’s heartening to know that there are even more ways to support charitable causes that don’t involve money. There are a number of platforms that follow the ‘cashback’ model when you do your shopping via their site; rather than adding what could equal just a few pounds and pence into your bank account, you can send this cashback to the charity of your choice. Give as You Live, Charity Checkout and Amazon Smile are all examples of this. There are also charity credit cards that use the same model to donate to good causes as you make your usual weekly purchases.
Free Rice is a unique way to donate food to those starving. With each quiz question answered correctly, a rice portion is donated via the World Food Programme.
Certain health charities urge the general public to donate blood, bone marrow, and even their organs upon their death, in a bid to improve the health of people suffering from various illnesses. On this same theme, charities like the Little Princess Trust ask for donated hair, so that they can make wigs and hairpieces for children who have lost their own hair through cancer and other illnesses.
People who like crafting can make items that can be sold, with the proceeds going to charity, or items that could solve an issue…such as hats for premature babies, blankets for the homeless or people staying in hospital—even vests for battery hens to keep them warm.
An initiative by Johnson & Johnson makes a donation to good causes every time someone ‘donates’ a photo on their platform. You can share a photo a day, which means you could raise £365 for the charity of your choice each year. I found various sites talking about this app, however, I couldn’t find it on Johnson & Johnson’s site or via Google Play, so I’m not sure if this is still in existence. It’s a real shame if not, as it’s such an easy way to raise a decent amount for causes that mean something to you.
Having a tight budget shouldn’t hold you back from donating to charity, as you can see. These are just a handful of ways you can offer your support, I’m sure there are many more.