Direct volunteer work is not currently a feasible option in most cases due to COVID-19, but the need for individual action is greater than ever. I wanted to come up with some creative ideas of ways to give back that also aren’t just monetary (although this is great too, and there are so many great organization out there to donate to if you are able at this time). After some research, I have found that we can make small modifications to things that we are already doing in order to make a big impact! I am always looking for more options, so if you have any suggestions please comment or send me a message!
Shop at smile.amazon.com! Your shopping experience will be exactly the same as it would be if you started from Amazon’s regular website, but if you start here, AmazonSmile will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. You must start from this website, or, if you are using the app, activate AmazonSmile under settings (this will take less than a minute)! You can choose from over one million organizations to support. We all shop on Amazon all the time – this is the easiest change to make.
Charity Miles/Virtual Race
Charity Miles is an app that works similar to Map My Run (or your fitness tracking app of choice), but allows you to choose a charity to benefit as you log miles – whether it is walking, running, or biking! You will be earning money from a corporate sponsorship pool, but you can also ask friends/family to sponsor you. You can learn more about how it works here.
This is also the perfect time to run a virtual race for charity! There are so many fun races to pick from – just do some research to make sure you are choosing a charitable race (some may be for profit).
Donate Hair or Blood
These are great options, because they are absolutely free and will make a big difference in someone’s life! Locks of Love and Wigs for Kids use the hair to create wigs for children who have lost hair due to medical conditions. You will need 8-10 inches of hair to donate. Here is a link to locate Wigs for Kids affiliate salons, but contact your regular salon and see what you can do! And Hospitals are always in need of blood. Here is the link to find a drive hear you through Red Cross, and here is some more information on the eligibility requirements!
Toys for Tots
Toys for tots provides unwrapped toys to less fortunate children during the holidays. This will be especially important this year. You can pick up extremely inexpensive toys (even at the dollar store), which could mean the world to a child! You can search for a campaign and local drop location near you (here), but they also accept donations online!
- Farmers Markets
- Aside from the fact that you will be purchasing food that is fresher and at the peak of its season, you will be supporting your local local farms, and increasing the demand for jobs within your own community!
- Local Boutiques
- This depends on your location, but supporting local boutiques as opposed to big businesses is another great way to support your local economy and encourage growth within your own community. And you will get some great, unique pieces that not everyone has, and depending on where you usually shop, you will likely be getting higher quality items!
Donate Clothes, Shoes and Furniture
Not only will cleaning out your closet help you feel more organized – you have the opportunity to give items you rarely use to those who really need them. Goodwill, Salvation Army and ReStore are some of the more well-known options, but I encourage you to see what you can do locally. It is worth researching donation boxes and shelters within your community.
Work with your local schools, hospitals and shelters
Building off of the last point, it is always a good idea to see if there are other ways to benefit your local schools, shelters, and hospitals. Schools may accept supplies that you can buy at the dollar store. Shelters may accept canned goods that have been sitting in your pantry. Hospitals may allow you to write letters to patients (I have done this, and have received incredible responses from the hospitals). Even if we can’t do in-person volunteer work, there are a lot of other ways we can make an impact. This will depend on what the organizations near you will allow, so it is always a great idea to reach out!
Utilize Social Media
Social media makes it convenient to buy anything we want with the touch of a button, and it is set up to make donating just as simple. We should be utilizing this! Facebook and Instragram both make it super easy to set up fundraisers. It can never hurt to put one up – you never know who may contribute! Your Birthday is a perfect time – people who may not have even remembered may see it and take up the opportunity!
As cheesy as this one may sound, some kind words can go a long way! You never know what someone is going through, and one short message can turn their day around. Text a family member or friend, send a DM to your Instagram friends, or give a compliment to a stranger!
Shop from companies that give back
- There are so many companies out there that are either donating a portion of their proceeds, or some of their products themselves – why not support them when they offer the same products you may be purchasing elsewhere! There are so many great companies out there, and it is important to research, but I am going to give some examples here:
- Bombas: This company donates one brand new pair of socks for every pair purchased. They are known for socks, but have expanded to include clothing as well! They also donate a specially-designed donation clothing item for every item purchased. They have already donated more than 40 million items!
- Pura Vida Bracelets: Firstly, their jewelry is beautiful! They were created on the premise of creating jobs for Costa Rican artisans, but they have expanded to create steady income for artisans around the world! They have partnered with more than 175 charities around the and donated nearly $2.6 million.
- Diff Eyewear: I know this is a pretty popular brand already, but it is a great eyewear company to support! They give back with every sale, and have donated over 1.5 million pairs of reading glasses to those who need them. They have also partnered with Sightsavers to help provide eye exams, surgeries, and medicine to those who need it.
- Toms: This company is well known for giving a pair of shoes away for every pair sold, but they also donate $1 for every $3 they make! Through their COVID-19 Global Giving Fund alone, they have raised $2 million in support of global relief efforts. And their shoes are so cute!
- Lifestraw: Lifestraw’s mission is to make clean water accessible to everyone. For every product purchased, a school child receives safe water for an entire school year. They sell water bottles with filters, which are perfect on the go! I always carry a reusable filtered water bottles when I travel.
- Love Your Melon: This company donates 50% of proceeds to nonprofit organizations fighting against pediatric cancer. To date, they have given over 7.2 million dollars to the fight against pediatric cancer and over 200,000 hats to children battling cancer. They are also currently accepting face mask requests for face masks for employees of children’s hospitals, care facilities and nonprofit organizations working with children battling cancer and their families, and have already donated over 600,000 masks!
- 6th Borough Boutique: I partnered with this company recently – they are an eco-friendly jewelry company based in NY. Their jewelry is eco-sourced, 100% Nickel and Lead free, and their packaging is composed of 100% recycled materials. Currently, 10% of proceeds are going towards COVID-19 relief.
I have learned a ton from researching for this post, and I have already made a few of these changes! I really hope you have taken something from it as well! If you have any other suggestions, I would love to hear from you!