19 May 2009

Are You a Rebel with a Cause?

Rebel Without A CauseImage by Blondi000 via Flickr

In times of economic turmoil, non-profit organisations need their supporters more than ever. When there is less money to go around, there is usually more need - and when you put that together with the fact that donating to charity is often first to be cut from the budget when money gets tight, you can see how charity organisations are caught between a rock and a hard place in the midst of recession.

Supporting the cause that you are passionate about isn't just about giving money. There are plenty of things you can do that can help your favourite non-profit out that won't cost you anything but a little of your time. Not that some financial support isn't needed - but if you are not able to give that just now, try some of the things below. You can make a difference!!

1. Become an expert
If you want to become an effective advocate for your cause, you need to be informed.

Read widely, talk with people who understand the cause you support, talk with people who have differing opinions from yours so you are aware of all sides of the issue - even if you disagree wholeheartedly!

The more you know the better you can answer other people's questions, counter other people's arguments and spread awareness about the cause you are passionate about.

2. Spread the word
Most charities don't have a ton of money to spend on marketing (and are often condemned if they are perceived as spending too much money on advertising) so they appreciate the work of their supporters bringing awareness to the cause!

3. Donate things you no longer need
You may (or may not) have spare cash to donate, but charity organisations need more than just money. You can donate clothing and other items to your local goodwill store, material scraps to your local school or pre-school, outgrown toys to the women's refuge . . .

4. Vote with your wallet
Be aware where your money goes. You may not be able to give money to support your cause - but by spending mindfully you can make sure you are not supporting companies and industries that go against your values.

5. Volunteer
If you have some time on your hands, consider volunteering for your favourite charity. Even if you only have an hour or two a month, you can make a difference. Volunteers are the lifeblood of most non-profit organisations.

6. Find ways to give for free
There are plenty of great opportunities to support causes you believe in online that cost you nothing. From Care2's Click to Donate, to Better the World, to Everywun . . . not to mention all the Facebook applications that donate money to charity.

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