The National Center for Charitable Statistics points out that there are over 1.5 million nonprofits and charitable organizations in the United States, which means that there are literally millions of Americans working to make a difference in the world. Many of the remaining 75% of Americans over the age of 16 who aren’t involved with charities also contribute to these efforts by making donations, but that isn’t their only option for helping out. If you’re looking for a way to support a charitable organization that doesn’t involve reaching for your wallet, take a look at this list of ways that you can give more than money!
While financial contributions go a long way toward helping charities accomplish their goals and help people in need, support from volunteers who give their time is just as important. Look into what organizations are near you–either local groups or small chapters of national charities–and see what volunteer opportunities are available. Normally, organizations have volunteer positions that suit all ranges of interest, scheduling, and so on, so finding the right role for you won’t be an issue!
In 2015, over 42 million Americans, including more than 13 million children, lived in households without reliable access to food. In response to these statistics and the crisis they describe, food banks around the country have become more important than ever as sources of food for needy families and individuals. Common items like fresh fruit and canned goods are always in demand, so you can donate food that you have sitting in your pantry or that you bought specifically at the supermarket for the purpose of contributing. This is one of the easiest ways to support charities; just call your local food bank and see what their needs are!
Along the same lines as food banks, there are plenty of organizations with more specific focuses that need material support; instead of food, however, they need certain gently-used items, which they donate to the less fortunate. Commonly requested items include coats, blankets, books, toys, games, school supplies, and more, and they can support organizations like transitional living facilities, community centers, churches, animal shelters, and many others. Donating lightly used items to charities can help you to clean out your house while also making a difference in someone’s life!