Giving money to charity isn’t the only way to get make an impact in another person’s life, and in fact there’s another thing many charities are in desperate need of – your time.
There’s plenty of personal advantages to giving back; it helps us connect to the community, appreciate what we have, and give our lives added meaning.
If you’re retired and find you have more free time on your hands than expected or are simply looking for something meaningful you can do with family and friends, why not get involved with a local charity?
There’s dozens of ways to donate your time and it doesn’t need to be a big commitment. To get you started, we’ve put together a few simple suggestions to help you get involved in charity work.
Choose a cause
If you feel motivated and empowered by the charity you’re working with you’ll get a lot more out of it. Think about what’s most important to you and the things that have touched your life; perhaps you’re an animal lover, or feel very strongly about keeping your community parks clean. While high profile charities certainly need support as well, you don’t necessarily need to fly across the world and administer care to make a difference, so if you’re unsure of what to do start by looking close to home.
Think about your skills
Think about your skills and how you could use them to contribute. If you know a lot of people you might be the perfect person to help put together a silent auction fundraiser, or perhaps you like to keep your home tidy and organised – those same skills might be perfect to help sort and stack donations at your local food bank.
Also consider any hobbies you enjoy – for example gardening or history – as pursuing these interest could also help you find a worthy cause that is fulfilling and enjoyable too.
Groups that need your help
The National Trust – From conservation groups to working holidays, gardening and guided tours, there are dozens of ways to get involved with the National Trust in your community. This is a great option if you’re particularly interested in the social element of volunteering and want to put your hobbies and passions to work.
Macmillan Cancer Support – As one of the biggest cancer support groups in the UK, Macmillan supports cancer patients, survivors and their families as they navigate a scary and difficult time. From hosting local events to research and administration, there’s plenty of ways you can get involved in the vital work they do.
Age UK – Loneliness and isolation is a sad reality for many elderly people in this country. The care and support Age UK offer helps combat depression, dementia and empower the aged to live fulfilling and independent lives. From gardening to home visits to managing a high street shop, you can use your skills to help some of the most vulnerable and forgotten people in your community.
Citizens Advice – This charity helps by offering free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities at a time when they need it most. From working in a bureau to helping with the advice phone line, this is a great charity to get involved with particularly if you have any interest in policy making or legal work.
RSPCA – If you’re an animal lover, the your local RSPCA could be the perfect fit. This charity does vital work to prevent cruelty, promote kindness to and alleviate suffering of animals all over the country, and relies on a dedicated team of volunteers to help take care of their animals and promote the cause.
The Trussell Trust – In times of economic uncertainty food banks are busier than ever, and you might find yourself surprised to learn how busy the food bank in your local area is. The Trussell Trust is a community of food banks around the country and from the website you can find your local group along with ways you can get involved, from seeking donations to handing out food.
Have you ever been involved in charity work? How did you go about doing it?