Charity Bucket List
There are plenty of reasons to do charity for yourself: it’s deeply rewarding and makes you feel good about yourself, you’ll learn more about how people less fortunate than yourself live day to day, you’ll gain perspective on your own life and leave a mark on someone else’s. The best reason to do charity, however, is for other people.
Give back a little bit of faith in humanity and show that there is inherent good in the world, that there are people who have the backs of strangers. You’re helping to create a better world, which your own children and grandchildren will hopefully see the benefit of, one day.
Remember when you were young, just starting out in the world? All the questions you had, and the vast number of things you didn’t know you didn’t know? Taking someone on and teaching them, either about the work you do or just about life, will help them grow in confidence and become better at what they do.
Sometimes brand-new babies have to be kept at the hospital for extended periods of time, and their parents can’t be there every second of the day. Cuddling babies helps them sleep better and feel safe, so if you have some spare time volunteer at your local hospital to give some babies a cuddle. Think of the endless new baby smell!
Being an organ donor is probably something you’ll never think about, until someone you know needs one. By registering to donate you’re giving a second chance at life to someone else, and that is one of the biggest gifts you can give. And anyway, it’s not like you’re using them.
Always wondering where your next meal is going to come from is hugely stressful, as is being hungry and not being able to do anything about it. When you buy a homeless person a nice meal, you’re taking away some of that stress, even if just for a moment. Why not sit down and join them for a chat?
While it’s hard to be able to tell peoples individual struggles just from looking at them, try to pick someone who looks like they could use it. You’ll never know just what a difference you’ll make to their day, or week, or month.
They don’t have to be big or expensive, the point is that you’re always on the lookout for a kind thing to do for someone. Help someone with their groceries, leave money in a vending machine, pick up some litter, give a stranger a compliment, make an effort to learn something new about a co-worker. Once you do it for a while it will become second nature, and you’ll find yourself opening up to the world around you.
Experience a completely new culture and the different hardships that people around the world go through each day. You’ll come back with a completely new perspective on the troubles in your own life, and you’ll have made all the difference to a community a whole world away.
No one will show you more thanks or love than a dog or cat that you help when it needs it. Often these guys have been mistreated and won’t immediately trust you, but that just makes it all the more rewarding when their little tails start to wag when you come in. And helping them off to their forever home is the best thing you can do for them.
You can shave your head to raise money for a cure for cancer, but if that’s not crazy enough why not raise money to bungee jump, or eat something gross, or run a marathon? Whatever you think will be really difficult for you to accomplish, spread the word and get people to sponsor you so that you’re forced to do it, for a good cause!
Most people have way more clothes than they need, and usually a cupboard full of stuff they haven’t worn in years. Pull it all out and see what could be given to charity, either to re-sell at an op-shop or straight to someone in need. Keep in mind though, not everything should be donated. If it’s raggedy and full of holes, maybe just throw it out.
What were you even going to do with your old hair, anyway? This is usually best if you’re going from a long to short look, as you want a bit of length to work with. But giving someone a full head of hair after an exhausting round of chemo is such a good thing to do.
If you’re not particularly talented when it comes to hair and makeup, take them out for a new wardrobe. People can often feel so much more confident when they’re dressed up in clothes they know they look good in, and not everyone can afford to update their outfits as often as they should.
People start crowdfunding projects for all kinds of situations, and can often raise way more than the goal amount when the project gets traction. Be sure to explain why this person is in need, and what they’d do with the money or how it would help them. People love getting behind a good story, and helping where they can. Your faith in humanity will be restored.
Giving kids in developing countries the opportunity to access an education is one of the most important things you can do to help alleviate poverty in those countries. By helping build schools, you are giving them the tools to make their country great, and that’s a beautiful thing to do for the world.
English has become one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world, and is generally a language that is required when doing business globally, so not knowing it will put you at a disadvantage. If English is the only language you know, first think of how lucky you are that you never had to learn it, then go out and help someone to get better.
Help people when they’re at their most vulnerable by doing what you can in a disaster. If you have first aid experience then get out on the front line, or look after victims at a shelter. It doesn’t end after the drama dies down – the clean-up and helping people get back on their feet can take months, and is often when people need help the most.
Pick a distance that feels like a real challenge to you, then ask people to support you by donating to the charity. The fundraising helps you stay on track and makes you stick to your goal, and at the end of it you’ve finished a big distance! It’s double feel-good!
Nothing makes you feel more special than someone doing something for you with no expectation of paying them back or thanks. Of course it’s important that you don’t make it weird for the other person – we recommend paying then leaving so they don’t feel like they owe you anything.
Scientists say that deforestation in tropical rainforests adds more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than all the cars and trucks on the world’s roads. So that’s huge. Do your part and plant a tree – you’ll encourage native wildlife, stop soil erosion, and trees are very helpful for creating oxygen, which we need. It’s a good thing to do!
Bone marrow is the spongy tissue inside some of your bones, which contains stem cells. Some diseases affect the bone marrow and prevent stem cells from becoming essential cells – and this can be life-threatening. Often the best person to receive a marrow transplant is a relative as they are a tissue match. While it’s a painful operation, you will give the recipient a new lease on life.
If you have any kind of skill that could be helpful to people in developing countries, like medical expertise, building or engineering, or teaching, offer up your time to help do what you can to make their lives better. It’s all about giving people the tools to help themselves – that way, what you teach them will help them for years to come.
Many children from less advantaged households struggle to get to school every day, even if they want to. Sponsoring a child means that they will have the books they need for class, a clean uniform to wear, and lunch every day. All of these things seem small but they are massive for a schoolchild, and making sure they see through their education is so important.
You’ll get to explore a foreign country, meet incredible people, and learn skills that you can use in your everyday life. Plus, it will make you really appreciate the things you took for granted back home. And of course, you’re making a massive difference to people’s lives.
Children’s hospitals can be stressful places, and often parents need just as much support as the kids. Volunteer at a hospital to read to sick kids, play a game, help with admin tasks, or chat to the parents and help them find their way around the hospital. Whatever you do, it’s a place that can always use more friendly faces.
Being homeless is unimaginable if you’ve never experienced it. Having nowhere to sleep, nowhere to put all your stuff, no safe place to retreat to. By volunteering at a homeless shelter, you make a difference by talking to people, hearing their stories, and connecting with them in a way that homeless people often lack day to day.
Often the people who need the most help in hospices are not those who are dying, but the carers who look after them day to day. It’s a thankless, often overwhelming job, and being there to support them emotionally makes a huge difference to the quality of care they’re able to provide.
Connect with older people who may not get much interaction day to day. By visiting them, having chats, playing games with them, and escorting them on outings, you’re helping to keep them active and engaged, which makes all the difference to their quality of life.
Providing hot meals to homeless people makes such a difference when they don’t know where their next meal is coming from. You’ll work hard, meet interesting people, and give back to your immediate community by helping the most desperate members.
It’s not all playing with cute puppies and kittens – often you have to do the dirty work of keeping their kennels clean and picking up poops. But it’s all important, as it helps keep the animals clean, healthy, and happy.
Traditional orphanages are no longer part of the care system in most wealthy countries, however they do still exist in developing countries. It’s not recommended that you visit them as often the children living there do have at least one parent. Instead, why not foster a child and provide them a loving home, or sponsor a foreign child and help them to stay with their parents. You’ll make all the difference in the long run.
Providing people with homes is one of the most empowering things you can do for another person. Help keep families together, help kids get to school and become part of their community, and help give people who are down and out a leg-up to succeed.
The Olympics are the biggest event on Earth. They only happen once every four years, and you generally only get to see them in your home country once in a lifetime, so if you get the opportunity to volunteer, take it! You might even get to meet some sporting legends, or at least watch as they create history.
Find an issue or cause that means a lot to you, and do some research on ways that you can make a difference in that space. The world needs volunteers who are passionate about the work they do, and that can only come from truly believing in what you’re doing.
In these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever that people stay politically engaged and aware of what’s happening around them. If you come across a candidate that you truly believe in, volunteer to help get them where they need to be to make a difference. You could be a part of history!
Let them know that even though you don’t know them and probably won’t get to meet them, that what they are doing is important and that you appreciate their service. If they’re far away from home, hearing that from a stranger that they’ve sworn to protect would absolutely mean the world to them.
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