Charity starts at home, so if you’re looking to increase your contribution to the community, it can be as simple as collecting cans or donating old clothes. But what if you’re aiming your sights a little higher? What if you want to make a real difference in someone else’s life? Here are just four meaningful ways to give back.
1. Pick A Cause That Matters To You
You’ll be more invested in your charity work if you really believe in the cause or campaign behind it. You’ll give more, complain less and feel better about your efforts at the end of the day. So if you’re passionate about childhood literacy, don’t force yourself to support disaster relief efforts in the third world just because you think it’s something better or more meaningful; go with the cause that really matters to you.
2. Find Everyday Ways to Help
Instead of making a big monthly donation and then forgetting about your charity for the rest of the time, think about smaller, more regular ways to help. For example, if you’re fighting poverty, try to make at least one “awareness” tweet per day. If you’re supporting the arts, spread viral videos of kids playing street pianos in New York. It’s often the littlest things that make the biggest differences.
3. Click for Charity
There are many ways that you can support charitable organizations without even leaving the comfort of your office chair. For example, there are brands that will donate pennies or rice grains for every click on their website, so you can feed a child for a week by spending five minutes at their store. There are also search engines that will contribute to charitable campaigns with every query, so the next time that you’re searching for recipes or water heater repairs, use their tools instead of Google’s.
4. Sponsor Someone or Something
One of the setbacks of donating to charity is that you don’t know where the money is going or what it’s actually helping. This can lead to apathy, anxiety, discouragement and the feeling that your contribution isn’t really making a difference. If you directly sponsor an orphaned child in Kenya or an abused elephant in Thailand, however, your money will be going to a specific cause that offers visible results. You’ll know that it wasn’t wasted or spent on office supplies instead of something important.
These are just a few ways to give back to your community that don’t involve old cans of green beans. While those kinds of efforts are better than nothing, they’re definitely the low-hanging fruit of the charity world. If you want to really make a difference, use one of these methods instead.