How to Give to Charity: Little Ways to Make A Difference
Give The Gift Of Hope This Holiday Season
It’s not just the time of year to switch to your winter hair care routine and break out your amazing collection of scarves - it’s also the perfect time of year to think about how we can best help others, from our fellow human beings and our planet to companion animals and wildlife. Maybe you worry you can’t do enough to make a real difference to the world, but let me tell you something important: if everyone helps in whatever tiny ways that they can, it all adds up to a whole lot of good being put back into the world.
When you want to make a difference and give back to your community and our world, there are many daily acts available to do so. You can donate your time, your money, or even simply supplies to various causes. You can spread word of worthy groups to support when you’re short on time or tangible goods yourself. You can even invest and reinvest any small funds you have to donate by making microloans to alleviate poverty. Just make sure you do your research to ensure you’re donating to legitimate causes in a way that’s needed - and so the maximum amount of your donation actually goes to the cause or people you’re trying to help. (Charity Navigator’s a decent place to start.)
Donate time or supplies to shelters: Whether to combat everyday poverty or to assist people displaced due to natural disasters or conflict - or to support homeless animals - there are shelters everywhere that need your help year-round. Locate one locally and see what they’re most in need of before donating.
Donate blood when there is a need: Blood donation comes up most often when there’s a large-scale disaster resulting in a large number of injuries. It’s a vital way to help, but only if your blood type is requested and donation centers don’t otherwise have a surplus.
Save your daily change and donate it: Do you spend small amounts daily on coffee or other small luxuries? Consider cutting back a couple days a week and donating the resulting savings to a charity of your choice.
Charities We Support
If you haven’t already selected the charities you’d like to support this year, there are three we’d like to highlight that meet our standards of transparency and responsibility - both to their donors and the causes they support.
National Pediatric Cancer Foundation
The National Pediatric Cancer Foundation's focus is straightforward and strong: this nonprofit organization is dedicated to funding research for less toxic, more targeted treatments for childhood cancer. Their ultimate goal is to eradicate pediatric cancer, and they're working with 24 leading hospitals throughout the United States in pursuit of this goal. The foundation was founded by two mothers whose children were diagnosed with cancer in 1991. Their children have survived and are healthy today - thanks to research advancements - and the experience inspired Melissa Helms and Risa Tramel to keep fighting through funding research. Over 87% of the charity's total expenses go to their cause and they're scored 100/100 on both their finances and their accountability and transparency by Charity Navigator.
WildAid's purpose is summed up by their strong, direct purpose statement: "We believe that when the buying stops, the killing can too." They work with governments and other partners against the illegal wildlife trade by supporting local conservation efforts and striving to reduce the consumption of wildlife products. They fight for the protection of elephants, rhinos, tigers, pangolins, sharks and more - their programs include introducing new technologies to protect marine life from shark finning, training law enforcement to intercept pangolin trafficking, and convincing Vietnamese CEOs to pledge never to buy, use, or sell rhino horn. When you donate to WildAid, you can feel comfortable knowing that over 90% of your donation goes right into their program expenses, and they're rated 5 stars by Charity Navigator.
Books for Africa
Love books? What better way to share that love than by donating to the literacy of African students? Books for Africa has been working to create a culture of literacy in Africa since 1988, providing students with the educational tools they need to improve their lives. Over the last 30 years, they've shipped over 42 million books throughout the African continent. Beside traditional books, they also send computers and e-readers, and you can donate to specific projects that are working to get books to libraries and schools via the Library of Alexandria, empowering rural communities with knowledge in Burundi, and more. They also have special initiatives to get law books to law schools and bar associations, build agriculture libraries, and provide French-language texts to students in Francophone countries. Over 99% of donations made to Books for Africa go into their programs! They also have the highest rating from Charity Navigator.
When you’re shopping for your friends and family this winter holiday season, don’t forget about those in need - even a small act of kindness can make a world of difference to someone in need of help. And generosity’s a great look on everyone!