Sunday, March 11, 2012

Supporting Charities at Work Without Going Broke

No matter where you work, it seems that there is always some sort of collection or fundraising taking place.  It could be a company wide initiative, employees banding together for a common goal, or an individual collecting funds for their kid's sports team.

The number of charity requests can become overwhelming.  However, with just a little bit of organization, you can contribute and make a real difference without leaving yourself short before payday.  Here's how.

Give what you can.  If you can afford to give a cash donation, do it.  Your co-worker who is fundraising will truly appreciate it and it may even enhance your relationship with your colleagues.

Donate your time.  One of the easiest ways to help contribute is by donating your time.  A bake sale is a low cost way to participate.  For a few dollars, you can make brownies or cupcakes, which in turn can be sold for 10 times your cost and used for donations.  Keep your eye out for when the ingredients go on sale at the supermarket, then you can have them on hand when needed.

Give items.  Another great way to contribute is through a food or clothing drive.  Often all that is required is to bring in some food from your cupboard (ensure it hasn't expired!) or some gently used coats or clothing.  It's a good way to clean out your closet without having to part with any cash.

Help organize.  It takes a lot of time and energy to fund raise.  Volunteer to help your colleagues with existing charity drives or find a cause that you are passionate about and start your own fundraiser.  Giving your time can often do more good than a cash donation.

Say no.  Just like in the 80s, it's ok to just say no.  When I was working my first job immediately after college, I had a lot of bills and not a lot of money.  I would have loved to donate to the variety of causes my co-workers were collecting for, but I really did not have the money.  I promised myself that once my situation improved, I would indeed begin to contribute once again.  I am fortunate that I am now in a position to help others.

Bottom line, if you can afford a small donation, do it.  But just because you don't have the cash, doesn't mean you can't contribute in other ways.

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl

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