by Lisa Stahr
Sad fact: this economic downturn has been brutal on non-profit animal welfare organizations, with a steep decline in charitable contributions made by individuals, as well as organizations.
If you’d like to help your favorite non-profit but don’t have the money you used to, consider these 7 Easy Ways to Give:
1) Donate Smaller Amounts
You’d be surprised how far your $5 or $10 will go with a non-profit. Most of these places are used to operating frugally, and animal-related causes often rely heavily on smaller donations (they’re not exactly on the A-List at corporations with charitable giving programs). And when coupled with $5 and $10 donations from lots of other like-minded people, wow! The numbers really add up.
2) Take Advantage of Donation Matching
Many companies will match contributions you make to your favorite charity with contributions of their own. Take the time to see if your company offers that benefit and then sign up.
3) Put On Your Badge
Put a charity badge on your website, blog, or social networking page to help your favorite cause. A little icon that sits on your page, a charity badge makes it possible for your friends, fans, and visitors to simply “click” to donate to your cause. Check out http://www.ChipIn.com, http://www.NetworkforGood.org, or http://www.SixDegrees.org to make a badge for your favorite charity today.
4) Recycle For Charity (an especially good one for kids!)
This an easy one, especially if you work in a place where people drink a lot of sodas. Collect cans and bottles for recycling and donate the money you get for them to your favorite charity. We’ve collected cans from Scout’s House and Mid-Peninsula Animal Hospital for about 6 months now and have sent the cash to Pets In Need, a wonderful no-kill shelter in Redwood City, CA (http://www.petsinneed.org).
5) Donate Products, Services, Supplies
If you have a business that provides products or services that might benefit a local non-profit, call the Executive Director and offer to donate them. And most animal groups can use things you might have extras of at home: blankets and towels, office supplies, housecleaning supplies, leashes, collars, bowls, pet food, cat litter, anything dogs or cats consume or need to stay comfortable.
6) Organize a Fundraiser
It can be as simple as a bake sale or as elaborate as an auction, a fundraiser for your favorite charity can be a wonderful, communal way to contribute. I’ve seen kids in our neighborhood sell baked goods, lemonade, even their toys and DVDs for charity, and I had a friend who pulled together a very casual but very successful summer BBQ at her house for her favorite non-profit. It doesn’t have to cost a lot—if you do an auction, for example, the items are usually donated by community-minded organizations. But it will take time and commitment on your part, so match the event to what you can do.
7) Donate Your Time
Last but not least: give of yourself. Nothing says “I care” like giving someone—or something—your time. So get over there and help out. I’ve never seen a single non-profit that couldn’t use an extra set of hands!