If you’re in a position to give, it’s because you’ve had people in your life who have invested in you. You’ve been given opportunities to get an education, have good friend and family support, build a network, get a living-wage job, etc. Unfortunately, millions of American’s go without those same opportunities. That’s why you’re investment in the lives of your local community members is so important.
Most non-profits will ask you to help them make those opportunities by donating money. But sometimes we want to do more than just donate money. Although monetary donations are vital to a non-profit's ability to function, it’s not as gratifying for the donator. As a giver, we find more joy in giving when we get to see the effect of our generosity. Here are some fun, creative and different ways to help the people in need in your community. Remember, no matter how you give follow the COVID safety guidelines to keep everyone safe.
Throw a birthday party for homeless children at a local shelter.
Create “I Care” kits for single parents or homeless families who struggle to afford self-care items like shampoo, razors, body wash, toothbrush, combs, etc.
Make friends with a family in a lower socio-economic status and help them as your means allow.
Offer to give rides to the grocery store or doctor appointments for people who don’t have transportation.
Adopt a local senior citizen and check in on them every week.
Donate your left-over food to a hungry family.
Donate art supplies to a local shelter.
Offer to repair or alter clothes for people in need.
Hold a book drive and then donate them to a shelter or non-profit that helps people in poverty.
Help kids learn how to read.
Donate your talents. Offer free classes to people in the community on a skill you have: photography, cooking, car maintenance, etc.
Donate much needed items to food pantries: spices, nutritional foods, can openers, oils, etc.
Create, print and donate a list of recipes for people receiving free food.
Keep your eye out for open positions with a living wage and recommend them to anyone you know who needs a job or is being underpaid.
Find ways to give the people around you the opportunities people gave you. Invest in a child’s life. Offer a teenager a job with responsibility. Mentor a local community member to help improve their career.
Offer to go grocery shopping for someone high risk, even if they pay for the groceries.
Offer to pick up the full or part of the bill for someone in the grocery line.
Give a generous tip to your server or delivery person – and if you can, consider giving a tip that’s more than the bill.
Donate your unneeded furniture, clothes, blankets, toys, etc. to a shelter.
Donate your unneeded furniture to someone who has no furniture.
Offer to babysit for free for a stressed-out parent.
Make pen pals with someone in a nursing home or shelter and send physical letters whenever possible.
Mow someone’s lawn who has limited mobility.
Pack extra snacks and offer them to strangers you meet throughout the day.
Create a packet of resources for homeless people and hand them out with a bottle of water and a snack.
Bake a cake for a family who can’t afford to celebrate.
Stand up for someone when they’re being treated unfairly, whether or not they’re there or you know them.
Express empathy instead of anger or annoyance. Instead of condemning someone for being human, stop and say “it would suck to be in that situation.”
Take baked goods to a shelter or non-profit to share with clients.
If you have a truck, offer to help move large items for a non-profit or their clients as needed.
Help someone move even if you don’t know them.
Offer your professional services for free or at a significant discount: whether that’s carpet cleaning, painting, training, teaching kids, organizing or anything else.
If your job or company offers a certification, create an opportunity for people in need to learn and pass that certification at a discounted price or for free. You can partner with a non-profit to make sure people in need know about these training opportunities.
Create a scholarship program like paying the fees for a low-income child to join a sport, paying children $1-$5 for every book they read, paying for a child to take an extracurricular class or buy the supplies for their passion, helping them start a business, etc.
Set up a free neighborhood library by setting up a water tight box with shelves where neighbors can take and leave books for free.
If you know a second language, offer to translate documents for non-profits or offer your time to translate for someone who doesn’t understand English.
Learn a new language and use it to help your community – either by translating or by being able to communicate with people who don’t understand English.
Teach free English classes.
Offer to improve someone’s resume and cover letter for free.
Help someone through the process of applying to and going to college.
If you garden, donate your produce to a shelter or family in need.
Take an interest in someone’s hobby and help them get better at it.
Reach out to someone with a mental illness to make sure they’re okay and let them know you’re thinking of them.
Take children from low-income families or homeless shelters on special trips to the zoo, park, museum, etc.
Put your voice, money and actions behind a cause you believe in. Share the posts from a cause you believe in. Donate to a non-profit who’s doing good in the community. Volunteer whenever you can.
Just doing one of these activities each month is enough to make a massive impact in your community. And when you don’t have time to do something creative, consider donating money to a non-profit instead so they can continue to further your goodwill even when you don’t have the time to.
Want to Help People in Poverty?
Donate | We use your money to help run our programs, and provide training that helps organizations and individuals make their way to self-sufficiency. You can donate on our web page or find an agencies local to you.
Volunteer | We can’t do this alone. Join us! Find one of our agencies in your county and check out their website for volunteer opportunities.
Become a Member | Did you know you can become a Community Action Member? Membership provides discounted tickets to our various events, an inside look into our organization and more. Membership fees start at only $25 a year for an individual, or $300 for an agency.
Partner with Us | We are humbled by the many non-profit and for-profit organizations that partner with us to bring services, educations and events to North Carolina. If your organization is looking for a non-profit to partner with, please consider us. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you!