So far in my kindness challenge for this month, which you can read more about here, I have made actual monetary donations to two nonprofits so far. One has been covered in my first week overview, and one will be covered in my overview published this Friday. And while my donations weren’t not monumental by any means, during these difficult times, I know not all of us have the extra money lying around to make those actual donations. Today, I wanted to talk about ways that you can help out your local nonprofits without spending any money at all, in case you are thinking about trying to do some of your own acts of kindness.
- Get involved with their social media page(s). This means not only liking and following their page, but also interacting with their posts. A like or reaction on a post, or comment, and especially sharing one of their posts can have a big impact, especially as more people are likely to interact with their posts once they see that other people already have.
- Invite your Facebook friends to like their page. So yes technically this is still related to social media, but I think deserves it’s own point. If you invite your friends to go and like the page in addition to engaging with the nonprofits’ page yourself, you can help them reach more people overall, which means more people who might be able to help with a specific need they have, a fundraiser they’re hosting, or might have the means to donate monetarily. To me, this is especially important for nonprofits as they usually don’t have the resources to have social media giveaways which grow their following in the way that many small businesses do. If you go the nonprofits’ Facebook page and then click on the community tab, you will see a suggested list of friends to invite on your right hand side. You can do it individually like that, but I recommend clicking on “See all Friends” and then clicking “Select All” which will appear in blue on the top right hand corner of the pop up list of friends. This will automatically select all your friends who don’t already like the page, and then you simply select “Send Invites” down at the bottom right to send them an invite to like the page.
- Volunteer your time. While this one may be difficult considering COVID, depending on what nonprofit you’re interested in, they may still be open to having volunteers. The orientation process will also differ from organization to organization, but if you have the time, this is a great option to consider. This is especially true if you have a valuable or unique skill, such as styling/cutting hair, repairing any sort of equipment or something that people would otherwise pay someone else to do. If you don’t have the time to volunteer on a regular basis, but still like this idea, many nonprofits may have large events once or twice a year where they need a large number of volunteers that they may not need on a regular basis. There may be options for you with something like that, even if you don’t have a lot of hours you can commit to each week or month.
- Donate items you no longer need. So this may vary depending on the type of nonprofits in your area and specifically the ones you are interested in helping, but this is something I try to do as much as possible. For example, I’ll donate books I no longer need and can’t see myself reading again or loaning out myself to my local library or occasionally place them into a Little Free Library in the area. I donate household goods and clothing that no longer fits me or that I’ve decided to declutter (but that is otherwise in good condition) and donate that to Ruth’s Cottage and the Patticake House here in Tifton, which is a women and children’s center for those escaping domestic violence. Animal shelters also often take donations of old linens and towels as well, and as I’ll share with a little more information on Friday, old clothes that are no longer suited for wearing can also be turned into dog toys.
- Make an in-kind donation. While you may not be able to donate money, you may have some good or service that would be really beneficial to the nonprofit, and this is particularly relevant more for small businesses than individuals. But maybe through your small business you have access to a large printer and can print banners or flyers for an event the nonprofit is hosting to help promote it. Or maybe you have an event rental space and you let them use the space for free. Things like that can make a big difference.
- Spread the word. This really ties back into getting involved with their social media page, but let your friends and family know about things the nonprofit has going on. If you see that they’re hosting a fundraiser, try to share it with specific friends who might be interested in going or getting involved in some way. If they post that they have a specific need for certain items to be donated, like let’s just say a microwave, and you know that your sister who doesn’t have a Facebook account has an old microwave she doesn’t need anymore, try to connect her with the nonprofit and see if she’d be willing to donate it to the nonprofit. I did something similar to this recently with a page called the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence who is up for a $125,000 grant from Google. I invited all of my friends to like the page with the idea that they would see the post, I shared the post on my personal Facebook page, but then I also sent the link to go vote in a direct message to several of my close friends and family members who I thought were likely to vote. This was much more effective than just sharing it on my personal page.
- If you’re still not sure, give your local nonprofit a call or shoot them an email. Depending on the exact causes they serve and what precautions they may be taking due to COVID, they may be able to give you some great ideas on how you can help them if you are not able to donate monetarily.