When it comes to helping others, there are many ways you can get involved. The most obvious one is to donate money. But, donating your time is just as valuable if you don’t have the money to spare or want to see your impact first-hand. Nonprofit organizations rely on the generosity of others to keep running, as many only have a small number of full-time staff.
While giving monetary donations is helpful to organizations, when you donate your time you get to see your direct impact. Sending off a check every month doesn’t have the same feeling as giving up a few hours of your day to be spent helping others. When you donate your time to organizations, it’s an instant mood-booster. The knowledge that you’re helping others and making their lives better, in turn, makes you feel great.
Volunteering your time not only makes you feel happier, it also helps to give you a sense of purpose. Supporting organizations that are working towards goals that you feel passionate about help you to feel directly connected to the impact they’re making. If you feel you have a moral duty to help others, giving your time is one of the best ways to fulfill that duty. In some organizations, like a soup kitchen or an after-school program, you’ll get to work directly with the people you are helping and see first-hand the impact you are having on the lives of others.
Giving your time may also inspire others in your life to do the same. When your friends and family see how fulfilled you are after spending a day volunteering, they may feel a stir to do the same. Speak to the people in your life about how important it is to give back, and they may feel compelled to do so as well. Another way to get others involved with the organizations you care about is to make it a family affair. Set aside one day a month where your whole family spends time volunteering at a local organization.
If you don’t have the extra time to give to an organization, but want to feel more involved than just sending money, consider making item donations. Many organizations have lists of supplies they accept for donations, like cat and dog toys and food for an animal shelter. While you’re still helping the organization in the same way as a monetary donation would, it feels a little more personal and like you’re having a direct impact.