One reoccurring theme that comes up with my clients is the desire to give back and to contribute to the community. And it’s no surprise, I mean, who doesn’t want to make the world a better place?
But for those of us who aren’t saving lives or educating our youth in our day job, the idea of contributing can seem unachievable on top of our already busy schedules. So, it often becomes an idea that we mentally file away for later in life.
You know, when we have it all figured out.
But, on the off chance that we don’t all find ourselves like the Gates or Rockerfellers down the track, it might be worth exploring how we can embrace the idea of everyday philanthropy right now.
Embracing Everyday Philanthropy
We tend to associate philanthropy with large financial donations from wealthy contributors. In countries like the US, Canada and the UK, these generous donations continue to provide vital funding to charities and not-for-profits.
However, in Australia, we see far less financial backing from our wealthy. Instead the majority of charitable contributions come from everyday Australians through monthly giving or in response to specific funding appeals.
This is what can be termed as everyday philanthropy. After all, according to Merriam-Webster, philanthropy is an act or gift done or made for humanitarian purposes. That simple.
So if you want to see how you can embrace this idea right now, below are some easy, free (or low cost) ways you can help.
Ways to Give Back that Don’t Cost a Thing
- Volunteer your time
This is a great way to pursue a passion or interest, build or share skills and meet new people. This can be helping at your local nature reserve, mentoring someone or providing pro bono services.
- Donate your used things
Save yourself of the hassle of fumbling around with Gumtree and donate your used clothes and household items to your local charity store. They’ll do all the hard work and pocket the cash to reinvest in their programs.
Ways to Help Save a Life
Is there any greater act of humanity than helping to improve, or perhaps even save someone’s life? Here are some simple ways you can do just that:
- Get on the organ donation register
Despite the majority of people supporting organ donation, only one-third of Australians are registered. So, if you’re open to the idea, register today and be sure to discuss your decision with your loved ones.
- Donate blood
Donating your blood, plasma or palettes is essential to supporting our medical system. Firstly check your eligibility, make an appointment and do the deed, for the simple reason that you can.
- Recycle your glasses
The Lions Recycle for Sight Australia program takes your old glasses and provides them to someone in a developing country. You can drop your specs off at most optometrists or mail them in.
Ways to Contribute Financially
If you have some money to contribute but you want to increase your impact, consider the options:
- Make a Kiva loan
Kiva is an easy-to-use online platform that allows you to support entrepreneurs around the world. By providing a loan from as little as $25, you are able to direct funds where you want to. And once the money is repaid, you can decide to reinvest or withdraw the funds, making your dollars go further.
- Join a Giving Circle
Giving circles enable you to combine your donation with that of like-minded individuals. Collectively you are then able to provide a significant donation to a cause that matters to you. Starting from as little as $100, there are a number of formal giving circles or you can join with family and friends to create your own.
Do you have other suggestions? We’d love to hear them in the comments below.