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How to support the causes you believe in

March 18, 2010


Although there is no right way to give your time, money, or support to charity, there are ways to make your support more effective — for both you and the charity. Here’s how.

Establish a plan. You can get more from your giving by taking an organized approach, as opposed to just donating some money here and there.

Start by finding something that you believe in or are passionate about. Perhaps you value the importance of reading, and would like to help literacy groups. Or maybe you want to support research into the cure for a specific disease. Giving to a cause you truly believe in will help turn your support into a lifelong commitment and give you the most satisfaction.

Make your donations automatic. If giving financial support is part of your plan, consider making your charitable donations on a regular basis. You might want to start small and then contribute more over time. This approach is similar to the idea of “paying yourself first” — in effect, you can use the strategies that help you become financially better off to support causes you believe in.

Regular donations help charitable organizations plan their own activities and make it easier for them to respond quickly to emergencies.

Offer your time and your experience. Beyond giving cash, there are many different ways to support your charity, such as volunteering. Getting involved in your community is a feel-good way to help.

Volunteering can also help you sharpen skills and make valuable job contacts — particularly when you are just starting out or taking your career in a different direction.

If you’re interested in volunteering, you may already know of some groups in your community that could use your time, such as a school or an animal shelter. Do some research to find an organization that matches your values.

Another way to support your charity is to offer services to them. If you work in an accounting office, you might offer to help with the books at your chosen charity. If you are a writer, you might offer to help produce their publications.

Participate in a fundraising event. Taking part in a walkathon, a soccer tournament, or other event can help you raise money for your chosen cause.