Volunteering And Donating To A Charity? Everybody Wins

MarilynDavisatTIERS By MarilynDavisatTIERS, 24th Sep 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/10djccvg/
Posted in Wikinut>Money>Charity

Volunteering, along with donations, helps organizations and people change. These changes extend to those who volunteer and donate, as well. Become an Agent of Change, it is easier than you might think.

Volunteering and Donating? Everybody Wins

Most Americans are busy working, raising a family, providing for their aging parents, or simply trying to keep their heads above water, yet the estimated number of volunteers reached its highest level in five years, as 64.3 million Americans volunteered, an increase of 1.5 million from 2010, so clearly, many people are trying to do something about problems in America.

The National Philanthropic Trust gathers statistics on volunteering and their estimates are:

A majority of Americans assisted their neighbors in some way.
More than a third actively participated in a civic, religious, or school group.
• Americans volunteered in schools and youth organizations to advance the lives of young people.

Nearly three out of five volunteers aged 25-54 are parents to children who are under 18. These parents volunteered well above the national average, focusing on helping fill local needs while also serving as role models—showing their children that community involvement is a critical choice and habit that can improve lives.

Money and Manual Labor: Both Have Value

I Can Give Money

Giving money is great; no one is going to deny that; but there are those who cannot simply write a check to their favorite charity or incorrectly believe that their small donation will not help. A widely held perception is that corporations and foundations are the biggest sources to tap for grants and donations.

The reality is that individuals and bequests contribute four out of five or 80 percent of philanthropic dollars. That rises to 88 percent if you include family foundation giving.

I Do Not Have the Financial Resources to Provide Money

Many people do not have discretionary monies today, but they still want to make an impact on a charity. Look at how much your volunteer time equates to the monetary gain for the organization. These statistics, provided by The National Philanthropic Trust for Individual Volunteering demonstrates the power of volunteer hours.

• The estimated dollar value of volunteer time is $20.85 per hour for 2009
• 8.1 billion hours of service in 2009 was worth approximately $169 billion

I hope that you see how valuable your volunteer hours are to an organization.

What Do Volunteers Do?

Are you still unsure about how to volunteer or even if an organization has a need for your skill? There are web sites that can walk you through the rationales, reasons, and opportunities to use your talents and time to help others.

What are the top four national volunteer activities?

• Fundraising: 26.6%
• Food collection or distribution: 23.5%
• General Labor and Transportation: 20.5%
• Tutoring or Teaching: 19.0%

Charities know that people give to the cause, but they also realize that people give to people.

People falsely believe that their $25 donation will not help the charity; however, you can take your passion for the cause and increase this amount if you do fundraising with friends, associates and family. You could easily see your small donation increase with each person you called.

That is the power of people giving to people.

I Have Stuff - Maybe Someone Else Can Use It

Make a commitment to clean out your pantry or cabinets once every three months. What looked like a good bargain on spaghetti sauce is still in your pantry because your family just did not like it. What can you do with it? Donate it.

Increase the size of your personal donation by putting a notice in your Community Home Owners Association newsletter, put a sign up in the break room, or send an email to let people know that you are collecting canned goods for charity.

Let everyone know when and where to drop off his or her canned goods and then take this donation to the charity. This combined effort increases the size of the donation.

Again, people make the difference.

Retired Doesn’t Mean You Forgot What You Know - It Means You Have the Time to Volunteer

Senior Corps started during the Kennedy administration. It now connects individuals over 55 with people and organizations that will use their talents, skills or expertise to mentor and coach those most in need of their particular contribution.

Volunteering to babysit so someone can attend a class to get their high school equivalency or watching the children of a recovering addict or alcoholic so they can go to a recovery support meeting would help you help them. Other opportunities for volunteering might include:

• Your local library: Do they need people to read to young children?
• Adult Learning Center: What skills could you teach to improve people’s lives?
• Schools or organizations help people with tutoring. Do they need volunteers?
• Animal Shelters: Adoption days at pet stores; do they need volunteers?
• Does the local food bank need people to stock their shelves?

Volunteering and Giving Are Not Just Seasonal or In Response to a Crisis

We all remember others when the need is prominent on the news – a devastating tornado, hurricane, or flood, or we see the shiny red kettles during the holidays, but the needs of people and organizations are ongoing.

Saw in the paper where there is a 5 K run for a charity you support?
• Try volunteering to staff a water station, even if you cannot run the race.

Know of a bake sale for the local elementary school, but you do not have children there?
• Bake a cake anyway.

Are you passionate about people getting out and voting? Ask about any restrictions then:
• Set up an early morning coffee stand to encourage people to stand in line in the cold.

Volunteering in the Community Helps all the Citizens

I live near a lake that always needs people to clean debris from the shoreline. Several times a year, there are boy scouts, girl scouts, and other groups helping to clean. Going and cleaning when I have some time is just part of what I can do as a concerned person, and I have not been on the water in years.

Look around for opportunities like this in your area, and I am sure you will find some section that needs sprucing up, cleaning up, or painted.

Habitat for Humanity

Working with a prescreened and prequalified homeowner, Habitat builds a home using volunteer labor and donated materials. To keep this ongoing, Habitat Restores sell unused construction materials as well as donated materials. These are retail outlets, open to the public.

I would encourage you to find 2 hours per month to volunteer. Find a cause or an organization designed to change those issues that you are passionate about; some to consider are:

• People
• Puppies
• Children
• The elderly
• Green or environmental issues
• Those who cannot read
• The neglected
• Substance abuse recovery
• Victim's rights
• AIDS/HIV Awareness

Something as simple as the neighbor with the broken leg who cannot mow their yard or paint their fence.

Gratitude for the Donations and Encouragement

At a woman’s recovery home I ran for more than 20 years, the Hall County Master Gardeners donated several days of planting, pruning, and general sprucing up to our lawn. We would not have been able to afford the plants, shrubs and trees that they donated and the women loved the bench so they could sit and admire the tranquil setting.

However, it was so much more than the donation. They donated their time, energy and effort to improve the lives of female drug addicts and alcoholics. These acts of kindness and encouragement helped us believe that the changes we were making in our lives had merit to others. Our volunteers helped us feel important and valued.

When I ran into one of the volunteers at the store the other day, four years after the garden project, she mentioned to me that she knew that helping the women, helped her be a better person.

There are many organizations in Hall County, GA where I live, that desperately need volunteers, and our local paper, The Gainesville Times lists many volunteer opportunities.

For those living in Georgia, there is a state site, called Volunteer Match.When I last looked, there were 846 opportunities for individuals to help service organization, individuals, and causes.

Moreover, in the end, you as a volunteer, as well as those you help, will benefit, and that makes everyone an Agent of Change.


Donations Help Everyone, Increasing Your Donation, Money Or Manual Labor In Volunteering, Volunteer Work, Volunteering

Meet the author

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
A Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist, with 25 years of abstinence-based recovery. I write about addictions, recovery, life lessons and general writing tips.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
24th Sep 2013 (#)

Thank you, Mark. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Jerry Walch
24th Sep 2013 (#)

A great presentation on a worthy subject.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
24th Sep 2013 (#)

Good Morning, Jerry. Thank you for the compliment and comment. I appreciate it. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
24th Sep 2013 (#)

Good job!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
24th Sep 2013 (#)

Good Morning, Phyl. I appreciate the comment. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
24th Sep 2013 (#)

My wife actually got a job by starting out as a volunteer (for an animal shelter). Either way it looks good on a resume and makes you feel good too.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
24th Sep 2013 (#)

Good Morning, Mark. I was fortunate in running the recovery house. As a 501 (c) 3, not-for-profit, I had a very supportive board. We opened some positions up to graduate students to get experiences that, as you say, looked good on their resumes and was helpful to us, also.

Thanks for the comment and adding another incentive to volunteer. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
25th Sep 2013 (#)

If all the volunteers resigned tomorrow the whole world would implode and come to a halt Marilyn.
Thank you for this very interesting post .
God bless you
Stella ><

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
25th Sep 2013 (#)

Good Afternoon, Stella. It is true that much of what gets accomplished is done by volunteers - mothers and fathers at school, libraries, shelters, and well, the list goes on. I for one know that I feel better when I volunteer at my charities and hope this article gives people some inspiration to find time in their lives and a cause in their community. Thanks for the comment. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Trillionaire
26th Sep 2013 (#)

I am very thankful for volunteers and people who donate their time.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
26th Sep 2013 (#)

Good Afternoon, Trillionaire. Agreed, I know how much it meant to me to have people interested in my house and to demonstrate it in so many ways. Thanks for the comment. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Retired
31st Oct 2014 (#)

I agree with what you said. I enjoy volunteering.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
31st Oct 2014 (#)

Good afternoon, CoffeeQueen, thank you for your comment. Like you, I enjoy the volunteering that I do. ~Marilyn

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