Huge thanks to Liz Burton for this fab guest post .
Hi, I’m Liz Burton, previously employed in the charity sector, I am now a stay at home mum to my 2 year old daughter. I have recently started to write a blog, which you can read here: http://www.missielizzie-meandmyshadow.blogspot.com/ or find me on Twitter @missielizzieb
Before I left the world of paid work to become a full-time mum, I was one of those people that always got accosted by ‘Chuggers’ on my lunch-break. Each month, £2 per charity would quietly slip from my account via direct debit.
Since becoming a SAHM, I have had to cancel most of those standing orders. However, that doesn’t mean I no longer wish to support them merely that I have to find other ways to do so.
Here are some examples, but I’d love to hear your ideas.
Social Media: To keep advertising costs down, many charities are using social media more and more to spread their message. This is a great way for you to help promote the charity’s work at no cost to you.
Do a search for your favourite charity and find out if they have an account on twitter and Facebook. Don’t forget the smaller, less well-known organisations. Try to stick with one or two charities or your followers might get ‘charity fatigue’!
Retweeting posts and sharing their messages on your wall is a great way to help raise awareness. Retweeting is all well and good, but a well aimed RT making use of your contacts is even better (for example a retweet to a lovely PR lady at Asda supermarket secured 300 chocolate bars for a charity’s sponsored walk). By following your favourite charity you’ll also get to hear their news and find other ways to help – maybe they need votes to secure a grant, perhaps they have a local event you could attend, or they could need help with a letter writing campaign to MPs.
Charity Shops: If you are donating goods to a charity shop, find out if they participate in Gift Aid. By signing up, the shop will raise even more money from selling your items.
Check out the charity Christmas cards and gifts. By purchasing direct online or in the shop, the charity is more likely to get a higher percentage.
Gift donations are also popular – everyone’s heard of the Oxfam give a goat. But did you know you can use your Tesco Clubcard points to buy these gift experiences? Many other smaller charities have taken up the gift idea too, and you should find details on their websites. You could even choose something to put on your own Christmas list – it might save you getting another jumper from Aunt Mabel!
Make use of your skills: Now here you can be really creative! I’m not just talking about making cakes for the local fete (although I’m sure they are always welcome). Think about skills you have or hobbies you do that you may be able to transfer to help someone else.
For example my hobby is ‘comping’. I enter lots of competitions, and some of my prizes are donated as raffle prizes. I recently won a fabulous sing and sign doll on twitter and gave it to my local Sure Start centre. They were thrilled and I know it will get a lot of use there.
I also worked with the Children’s Trust developing an idea to encourage nurseries to sign up to their National PJ week fundraiser. The ‘refer a nursery’ competition was launched, and promoting this through my blog and twitter has been a rewarding way for me to support them. There are thousands of good causes out there crying out for help. Remember, supporting a charity doesn’t have to be financial. Think creatively, and see what you can do.