Life can be complicated but some things just aren’t. If someone is in need, you help!
With so many organizations, causes, and those that need assistance – how do you navigate which causes to be a part of or give back to? Here are some tips on how to identify where and how you can start to give back. I know I’ve felt overwhelmed in the past about how to select which organizations I want to commit my time, energy and resources to, so I am hoping this can help give you some guidance if you’d like to give back!
I also wanted to use this opportunity to highlight organizations that I’ve been personally involved with over the years. I love all of them and can’t wait to discover more organizations I can give back to.
Start from your own experiences
If you have experienced any hardship or difficult time in your life, those are often the areas where you can pull from, and have that help guide you toward identifying how and who you want to help.
Children have always had a close place in my heart. It’s just not fair that growing kids have to suffer so much, at such early ages. I want to highlight a few organizations that I have personally been involved with.
LA’s Best: Their mission is to provide safe and supervised afterschool education, enrichment and recreation program for children ages 5 to 12 in Los Angeles. Their programming strives to teach children through social, emotional, intellectual and physical engagement with caring adults and dynamic experiences.
Make-A-Wish Foundation is an organization that grants the wish of every child diagnosed with a critical illness. On average, a wish is granted every 34 minutes! There are local chapters where you can volunteer your time and funds or you can donate to the greater organization. And if you want to learn more about the children’s wishes, and are looking for perspective, read through some of the Wish stories of young children who wish to have a puppy, who want to makeover the children’s ward in a hospital, or be princess for a day. Insert a cry face emoji right here, please!
Children International has a mission to end poverty. They focus on making long lasting impact by helping children who live in poverty. It all starts with children at least having enough resources and funding to take care of their basic needs of food, medical attention, and an education. Through their programs they empower and employ young adults. I donate $32 a month to sponsor a young child in Zambia. His name is Dickson and he loves soccer and English. I love getting the handwritten letters from him! And for perspective, I spend $30 on one SoulCycle class. I’m happy to forego one class a month and fund the education and basic needs for one child!
UNICEF works globally to save children’s lives, defend their rights, and help them fulfill their potential from childhood through adolescence. They have helped reduce child mortality by reaching the most vulnerable children in 190 countries.
Fun fact: I co-founded the UNICEF chapter at my alma mater, UC Irvine. Part of what we did was educate and create awareness with elementary school kids in our area. We created activities and workbooks that educated these children about other cultures around the world. Through these talks and activities we played with them, we taught them in small ways how to have more compassion toward other children. I remember at first they thought it was “funny” seeing how other kids dressed and they were surprised with how little resources they had to survive, but I hope that at the end of our time with them they gained a little bit more understanding. 🙂
Other areas I feel closely tied to are specifically around women’s issues.
The Foundation for Living Beauty: This is an organization that empowers women to increase their physical wellness and emotional stability while coping with the taxing effects of cancer and chemotherapy.
Peace Over Violence is an incredible organization that is dedicated to building healthy relationships, families, and communities free from sexual, domestic, and interpersonal violence. Their agency manages five services classified as Emergency, Intervention, Prevention, Education, and Advocacy. They have local chapters and provide (free) one-on-one counseling to help guide you through the many emotions you have when you have gone through a traumatic experience. There is a 24/7 hotline they can connect you with as well. The emotional support that these counselors provide is invaluable to someone who at the time can’t see themselves as a survivor yet, and is still feeling like a victim of their experience.
Give back what you have in abundance
Abundance doesn’t necessarily mean just finances. Of course, if you have extra money to spend on others – there are so many organizations that can really use it! Charity Navigator is an incredible resource to reference. They give transparency to where your money is going. If you’ve ever wondered how much of your dollar is going to administrative needs and payroll vs actual funding for medical attention or programming, this is the site for you.
Abundance can also be defined as what your talents are. If you excel at project management, data entry, or have a schedule or lifestyle that affords you a lot of free time – consider using all of this in a way to give back to organizations that need your skillset. I used to work at free medical clinics where they had a lot of patient records that needed to be input. I’ve always been good with computers and organization, so doing easy data entry, input, and system organizations was right up my alley.
Giving is literally right at your fingertips
Giving back these days doesn’t mean you have to physically go to a specific location or you have to open up your bank account. Giving now can literally be text messaging on your phone. So if transportation is a barrier for you, all you have to do is be on your phone – something I’m sure we are all very good at it 🙂 There is an awesome organization called Crisis Text Line.
Crisis Text Line is a 24/7 support line for those in crisis. You or anyone you know can literally text 741741 anywhere in the US and be connected with a trained Crisis Counselor. From their website, they say “Our first priority is helping people move from a hot moment to a cool calm, guiding you to create a plan to stay safe and healthy. YOU = our priority.” I love this. When you’re in a panicked moment, in the middle of a trauma or depressive feeling, getting from the “hot moment” to a feeling more manageable is the first step to mental and physical safety.
You work remotely, so you can be at home in bed and be helping someone! They specified they are looking for Crisis Counselors at night when they do get a substantially larger amount of crisis situations. If you are a night owl or are awake during later hours in the night, consider volunteering some of your time to this incredible organization.
Donate your own belongings
Use this opportunity to not only help someone else who may not have as many resources as you but also clean and minimize your home! Two birds, one stone. 🙂
I get a ton of products and clothing from brands and I feel so so fortunate. A portion of my products goes to friends, family, or Instagram giveaways and a large portion goes to these organizations:
The Salvation Army – This is a faith-based organization that help vulnerable members of our communities. Any donation that you make to your local Salvation Army store helps fund rehabilitation programs that heal addictions, change lives, and restore families.
Downtown Women’s Center – It is the only organization in Los Angeles that is focused solely on serving and empowering women that are homeless or are formerly homeless. Living in Downtown LA myself, I see exactly how severe the homelessness is in my community. The wealth gap is very apparent in downtown – on one block there is a Whole Foods, SoulCycle, and fancy macaroon bakery, and on the next block there are women and men pushing around shopping carts filled with what belongings they’ve been able to find on the street. I’ve donated a ton of clothing and household items. They also have an Amazon wishlist where you can purchase exactly what they are looking for.
I hope these tips have helped you identify ways that you can start giving back!