6 Ways to Give Back Without Opening Your Wallet
Any charity will gladly accept your financial contribution. But Canadians have much more to donate than money, namely their goods and their time. Where can you put either of these to good use?
Your community may also have a volunteer centre, which can connect your interests and abilities with local needs in sectors such as social services, health, the arts and recreation. To locate your closest volunteer centre, check the website of Volunteer Canada.
Give Up the Goods
Start with the stuff that’s been piling up in your spare room or garage. Charitable organizations are always looking for all sorts of items-clothes, furniture, dishes, assorted knick-knacks-to sell in their stores, with the proceeds used to fund their charitable programs. Another resource is the Canadian Diabetes Association, which will pick up your used clothing, housewares and furniture, and sell them in turn to Value Village (Village des valeurs in Quebec).
Virtually any merchandise can find a new home. Looking to discard old computer equipment? Individuals and businesses can donate to specific programs, which supply hardware to schools, libraries and not-for-profit learning centres across Canada.
Locally, try contacting organizations like women’s shelters or your community’s social service groups to see if they’re interested in your wares. Alternatively, when you donate to Value Village, your donation becomes funding for a local non-profit. Over the past 10 years alone, they’ve paid over 150 nonprofit offices $1.5 billion which helps fund local community programs and services.
Take the Time
Beyond goods, your time can be even more valuable to charities. According to the Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating, Canadians volunteer about 2 billion hours a year. Sounds impressive, but much of this support comes from a narrow band of the population: 11% of Canadians account for 77% of all volunteer hours. So we can all do much more.
Your Skills are Valuable
Wondering how your skills and experience can do the most good in a volunteer capacity? Many websites have a section on volunteering, where you can enter the type of volunteer role you’re seeking, the type of organization you want to give your time to, and your location.