So, you’ve decided it’s time to start helping out in your community…great! But you’re not so sure what that looks like or where you can start. Don’t stress, that’s what we’re here for. Many people are in your shoes and want to support their community and don’t know where to begin.
Whether you’ve just moved somewhere new and feel like you could be helping a new community or just feel like you could be doing more where you already are, you’ve already taken the first great step: deciding you want to do more; now we are here to facilitate the next step: how exactly you can go about helping out? Although the options are truly endless, let’s start with 5 simple ways you can contribute to change.
1. Donate to local charities
Cash donations are welcomed by all charities but they are not the only donations that are appreciated – clothing, non-perishable food items and sanitary products are all popular choices too and most will list what they are specifically looking for on their websites! It can often feel like only donations in the thousands of dollars can be truly impactful but the truth is any amount, especially for smaller, more local charities, can make a massive difference to people’s lives.
Finding a cause that you are passionate about or that moves you will be what is most important in deciding who to donate to and what that donation should look like. Perhaps you are passionate about supporting charities that support women within disadvantaged communities through promoting education and community building? Then Proyecto Florecer may be for you. Or maybe it’s the organizations that work in animal protection that you feel more drawn to, in which case giving to charity like Sociedad Protectora de Animales may be perfect for you. If this is the avenue through which you feel you can best effect change then there is no shortage of organizations that would be grateful.
2. Volunteer and donate your time
Another very important form of donation is donating your time. Charities can always use a helping hand and are often on the lookout for more volunteers who are dedicated to their cause. This can be as time consuming and intense or as relaxed and casual as you would like.
The most important things to think about are how much time you are willing to put in – whether it be one off events/workshops, like our fortnightly soup kitchens, or for months at a time – and the skills you feel like you can contribute. No matter what it is there is someone out there in your community who could benefit from it so put it to use!
Want to know how to help at Proyecto Florecer? Here’s a list of roles we are currently looking to fill!
Curious about what it would be like? Here’s a testimonial from one of our very own volunteers:
If you want to combine the best of both worlds by generating a sense of community spirit in your local area whilst also donating to your chosen cause, then a fundraising event is one of the best ways to get involved. As well as contributing to a great cause, fundraising events are a fun way to build teamwork skills and boost morale in your community.
It may sound daunting but fundraising doesn’t have to be overwhelming, there are a whole host of things you could do – organising a clothing drive, a bake sale, a sponsored walk or a raffle are just some of the ways you can begin fundraising for your community. You’d not only be giving back but also building a sense of community with those in your area and maybe even inspiring others to do the same!
4. Support on social media
Don’t have the time, means or energy for a fundraising event but still want to engage your community? Social media may be just the solution for you and you’ll be able to reach an ever wider audience than just those in your neighbourhood. No matter which platform you prefer, whether that be Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or TikTok, engaging with content can help grow a community or campaign. Showing support can be as simple as reposting and liking posts and leaving comments about positive experiences with a charity in your area or as creative as creating videos spreading the word about a cause to help it find broader support.
5. Look after your neighbours
Don’t forget – charity begins at home! If the pandemic taught us anything it’s the importance of checking on family, friends and neighbors especially who are vulnerable like the elderly or those who have health or mobility issues. Offering to get groceries, bringing over some extra food or just being a friend are all small ways you can make a big difference in someone’s life. Getting to know the people around you not only helps ease any loneliness by giving them a listening ear but you may also be able to help them find solutions to challenges and difficulties they face; a problem shared is a problem halved after all.
There are infinite ways to help out in your community but these are a good place to start your journey into bettering your community!
Heaven Menkir is a British university student, studying Spanish and French. She is currently in Medellín, Colombia, working as a marketing and communications intern at Proyecto Florecer.