With more than 4 million people in the UK living in poverty and 320,000 classified as homeless, it’s more important than ever to give whatever you can to charity. Non-profit organisations exist for almost everything, from health and illness, human rights and education. Donating to charity can massively impact those in need, helping to fund research into future medications and treatments, or providing food and clothing to those without. However, despite the significant results that charitable donations can bring, it’s easy for anyone to start small.
Give what you can
Donating to charity doesn’t have to drain your bank account—ultimately, it’s a question of choosing a cause that means something to you, and giving what you can. It doesn’t matter if you donate £1 or £100 to a worthy cause, every contribution impacts a larger long-term goal and goes a long way towards making a difference. Causes representing those in need will appreciate any donation, and each contribution adds up. Even if you don’t donate directly to a charity, businesses such as Lloyd Banking Group, Lotto Social and Debenhams partner with charitable causes to help raise funds—generally through small donations taken from customer transactions. Just remember, every little helps.
Shop with a purpose
Fast fashion is a hot topic in recent months, as consumers are being swayed from contributing to unethical fashion practices to buying second-hand clothing and sustainable items. One way of avoiding the dubious manufacturing processes of many high-street clothing stores is to use charity shops instead. You can buy used clothing and also donate your own unwanted items, giving an old piece of clothing a new purpose instead of ending up in a landfill. Charity shops accept a variety of items, including clothing, shoes, books, homeware and furniture. A proportion of the money you spend in a charity shop will then be donated to the charity in question. For example, The British Heart Foundation ensures at least 70p from each pound raised is donated to charity while Oxfam GB gives 83p per pound. Using these shops is an easy way of donating to charity, with the added bonus of treating yourself to something new.
Donate to food banks
There are many reasons why people use food banks—their income may fail to cover essential costs, or they may be hit by delays in government benefits, or come as a result of illness or disability. There are currently 2,000 food banks across the UK, with 1.6 million emergency food supplies distributed by Trussell Trust between April 2018 and March 2019. It’s easy to donate to food banks, with supermarkets like Tesco, Asda, and Waitrose all having their own food bank collection points for non-perishable food items. Many collection points have a list of items they’re in desperate need of, which generally includes tins of food, cereal, pasta, and soup. Food banks also collect non-edible items, such as toiletries and feminine hygiene products.
Volunteering for a local charity or community centre doesn’t cost anything but your time. In a survey of over 10,000 people, YouGov revealed that almost 4 in 10 Britons volunteer, a practice which is also said to decrease loneliness and improve mental health. By donating your time—whether that’s one day a week or a few hours here and there—you’re helping give back to your community. As well as being the most important aspect of contributing to charity, volunteering is a way to gain new skills, make a difference to the lives of others, and meet new like-minded people. You can offer your help at your local charity shop, as they often look for new volunteers, or help out at local community projects, helping to feed the homeless at soup kitchens, or picking litter in nearby parks.
Text to donate
Some charities let you donate by text message, a simple and quick way to give back. All you have to do is text a keyword to the relevant number, and input your chosen donation amount. Events such as Children in Need and Comic Relief use this method for their telethons—the former raised £13 million through text donations alone, which helped support 3000 local charities. No matter how much you donate, big or small, it all contributes to a bigger mission.