Everyone wants to make a difference, but how do you know you’re making the best decision for you and others? Here are some steps to take to make sure that you can really help with your voluntary work.
Check The Credentials
Always, always, always check the providence of any charity before you work with them. Charities should have several details ensuring they are legitimate and you can find step-by-step guides detailing how to check their credentials. In particular, you want to check that your money is going directly to the source. If you’re being pressured into donating to a charity, it’s worth taking some time out to do your own research before you have to hand over any money – and if a charity you’ve never heard of is being particularly forceful, you might want to think twice anyway, as it could be a scam.
Stick With The Community Or Go International
There are a wide range of options you can support – and not all of them will be as obvious as you might think. If you’re looking for something further abroad and on a larger scale, there are many charities providing ways you can help internationally. However, there are likely to be many opportunities in the local area, and if you have a cause particularly close to your heart you’re more likely to see the effects.
Focus Your Efforts
If you’re simply donating money here and there, you might not care much about scattering your options. But if you’re planning to dedicate a larger amount of time, effort, or funds towards a charity project, it’s more effective to focus your energies rather than scatter them about. It can help to see whether you have a personal calling towards a particular cause – such as the environment, homelessness, or poverty – or if there’s a current event in the news – such as the refugee or Syria crisis– which you feel particularly strongly about. Your work will be better appreciated if you put one hundred percent of your energy into it.
Use What You Have
Use the talents you have to work towards something good. Are you great at cooking, at crafts, at sports? There are loads of things you can do. If knitting is your forte, there are a wealth of options: you could knit clothes for premature babies or hats and scarves for refugees. Fantastic at organisation? Then maybe organising a fundraiser is the thing for you.
That said, make sure you don’t apply yourself to skilled work that isn’t your forte, even if it’s in the name of charity. This is particularly important for skilled work such as building, which is often involved as part of voluntourism – but if you’re a terrible cook, it’s probably not best you make meals for the homeless. A good rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t do anything for other people that you wouldn’t want to yourself. Of course, if you want to learn a skill in order to help in that way, that’s great!
Think About Your Schedule
The kind of charity work you do will also depend upon how much time you have. If you have a regular 9-5, you won’t be able to have something which takes over your work commitments. However, you might be able to look at evening or weekend work, such as weekend work in a charity store. If you’re really struggling for time, look at turning your hobby to someone else’s benefit, working remotely (such as doing promotional work online), or donating money to worthy causes.
Don’t Do It For Your Own Benefit
Remember – charity is ultimately about helping others, not yourself. If you’re doing charity work so you can post it all over social media or get a free holiday, it’s not about the people or the cause you’re helping: it becomes about you. As long as you stick to something you genuinely care about and you use your time and resources for good, you’re certainly on the right track.