I started The Kindness Cause because I wanted to give back but lacked time to volunteer as a mother working a demanding corporate job as a retail buyer. I realized I had been neglecting my passion for giving back for many years. Before having children, I volunteered my time to charitable organizations. Life had become so busy that I no longer had time to volunteer. I started to buy gifts for my friends and family that supported charitable organizations as my way of giving back. The gifts became conversation starters about important issues and learning about new nonprofits. However, it often took a lot of work to uncover and learn about the nonprofit benefiting from the commercial co-venture, and the giveback was often very vague. There had to be a better way. I decided that my many years of retail experience, coupled with my love of helping others, put me in a unique position to tackle the problem head-on, and The Kindness Cause was born.
If you want to make a difference but lack the time to volunteer, here are ten ways you can make a meaningful impact in the world and the lives of others.
1) Donate your gently used household items
The number one way people give back is by donating their gently used household goods to those in need. Clean out your closet, pantry, kids' closets, and garage, and donate the items to organizations that could greatly benefit from them. Kids quickly outgrow clothing, and my closet is always bursting. I set a box in the laundry room to collect clothing in good condition that is too small to be donated to the local domestic violence shelter. This organization calls me monthly to see if I have anything to donate and comes to my house to pick up the items.
2) Donate money
If you have the financial means to donate to charitable organizations, donate money through the organization’s website, set up re-occurring monthly donations, or participate in the charity’s fundraisers. Most small nonprofit organizations stretch every dollar, and financial contributions allow them to increase their impact and address what is most pressing for their organization.
3) Use your voice
Call or write your government representatives to lobby for a cause that is important to you. Often they assume that if their constituents are reaching out about an issue, it is not essential to them. Use your social media network to amplify charitable organizations and businesses addressing causes you support. Use your voice to bring awareness to an issue.
4) Perform a random act of kindness
Living in Las Vegas, it gets very hot in the summer. I like to keep a case of bottled water in my car. I pass out water bottles to the homeless and those in need as I drive around town. Perform a random act of kindness for a stranger. Help your elderly neighbor with an errand, pay for someone else’s order, or leave a generous tip. There are many ways you can make someone’s day just by being kind.
5) Make cards for the local senior living community or children's hospital
Brighten the day and bring a smile to someone in need by making cards for your local senior living community or children’s hospital. You can make cards for a specific holiday or create inspiring messages to lift their spirits.
6) Donate food to a local food bank
Every trip to the grocery store, pick up a few extra food items. Collect the additional items for the month and deliver them to your local food bank.
7) Donate blood
Help save a life by donating blood. By donating blood, you can provide a valuable resource and give the gift of life to help others during a medical procedure or emergency.
8) Write a letter to a soldier
Operation Gratitude is a nonprofit encouraging Americans to write letters thanking our military men and women for their service. Your kind words will help lift their spirits and show that their sacrifice is appreciated.
9) Adopt or foster a shelter pet
Help reduce the strain on animal shelters by adopting or fostering a pet. Pets relieve stress and anxiety, reduce loneliness, and create opportunities for exercise and socialization.
10) Shop and support businesses that give back to charitable organizations
Need a housewarming gift, a graduation gift, or a birthday gift? Why not buy a gift that gives back and supports a charitable organization? We are biased, but our favorite is thekindnesscause.com. However, you can support many great organizations that also give back to worthwhile causes.
I’ve discovered that when we have the money to give, we often lack time to volunteer. When we have the time to volunteer, we often lack money to donate. Giving back is not one size fits all and varies from person to person. Many studies have shown that people rarely give back in just one way. There are many ways to give back and support charitable causes without giving up your time or spending much money. It doesn’t matter how you give; it just matters that you do.