Before we get to the season of turtle doves and French hens, we’re taking a gratitude pause to reflect on the little things that aren’t little at all. Food and water. Speaking without fear. Reading, writing, dancing, singing. Health. Safety. View our UNselfie video or see it posted below.
Read on for 12 ways of giving and find charity and fundraising events in your area.
1. Give Time
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 62.6 million people volunteered through or for an organization at least once between September 2012 and 2013. Volunteering may not require an intensive time commitment—there are walk-a-thons, community gardens, outreach and all kinds of one-day activities.
Volunteers often come away from the experience with lasting friendships, perspective and maybe even improved health. The Corporation for National & Community Service reports that those who volunteer have lower mortality and depression rates and feel more connected to the community.
Check out Volunteer Match to find a volunteer opportunity that matches your interests and schedule.
Throw a Fundraiser
Or put the fun into fundraising—organize an amazing, out-of-the-box, knock-their-socks off concert, performance or dinner to raise money for causes. Learn how you can use our Fee-Free Donation Tool to set up your page and collect funds with or without selling tickets.
Some examples of creative fundraising:
2. Have a Wine Competition
Put your palate to the test with competitive wine tasting. Form teams and have them bring two identical bottles of wine then do a blind taste test. Proceeds go to a good cause.
3. Laugh Out Loud with a Comedy Cabaret
Your charity event doesn’t have to be a bake sale or a black-tie benefit. You can make people laugh and raise money like this comedy cabaret that helps Team Towanda Foundation, a non-profit that provides women in need with funding for mammograms and other health services.
4. Stir Things Up with a Cook-off
If you’re planning a food-related charity event, stir things up by adding a competitive element. In Holiday Chefs Challenge, an event in North Carolina that benefits food banks, chefs compete to create delectable appetizers, desserts or entrees based on a list of everyday items distributed by the food bank.
Want to get physical with your charity fundraiser? Think outside the 5k. Shimmy, shake and move for a good cause with a dance off or dance-a-thon. You could even theme it to the dance like Zumbathon.
6. Treat a Veteran
Give military members a well-deserved night of entertainment. Brown Paper Tickets Salutes is a partnership with Veteran Tickets Foundation that donates event tickets to active military men and women, veterans and family members of those who gave their lives.
Tickets make great gifts. They are more personalized than sweaters, almost guaranteed to be used and don’t clutter up the house. Buy your friend or loved one tickets to a charity or holiday happening and give back with your gift. Some ideas:
8. Broads for Bones
For your friend who loves to laugh, give tickets to see some of Los Angeles’ funniest women and help raise money for Ankylosing Spondylitis, a crippling bone disease. The hilarious line-up includes top-tier comedians, directors and television writers.
9. Green Generations Holiday Party
Send your favorite environmentalist to a swanky celebration with a signature cocktail and silent auction. Proceeds help Green Generations, Inc. an organization that teaches NYC children about sustainability.
10. Meowy Catmas Cat Circus
Surprise the cat-lover in your life with tickets to see acrocats walk tightropes, perform death-defying jumps with the greatest of ease and yes, rock out on keyboards and drums. A portion of ticket sales goes toward cat rescue and the organizer strongly advocates adoption.
11. The Nutcracker
Bestow the gift of holiday ballet magic and sugar plum fairies while supporting the Alameda Civic Ballet, a non-profit and charitable organization.
12. Happy Giving
Who doesn’t love happy hour? When it’s for a great cause, it’s even happier. Enjoy wine, beer and appetizers while benefiting the Head Start program. Bring a toy and take joy in the act of giving.
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