If giving to charity is important to you but you have more time than money, you may wonder whether your donation of manpower will be as valuable as cash. For many charities, the answer is an unequivocal yes. Below are some tips and tricks that can help you optimize your charitable giving through volunteer work.
Take Stock of Your In-Demand Skills
Although many charities welcome volunteers who don't have a particular subset of skills—like food pantries who need volunteers to box or sort donations, or charities that are sending out letters as part of a donation drive—others can benefit from any special skills a volunteer has to offer. If you have an eye for photography or enjoy graphic design, you may be able to work up some new advertising material or donor solicitations, while someone with IT skills can beef up their favorite charity's cybersecurity efforts.
Other skills that are frequently in-demand by charities include web design, accounting and bookkeeping, outreach and public relations, construction, and mechanical work. In addition, charities that are targeted toward specific projects or professions can benefit from volunteers who are members of these respective professions.
Unsure What a Charity Needs? Just Ask
Some charities aren't equipped to take on volunteers—whether for liability reasons or because they just don't have enough manpower to direct and supervise volunteers. For these charities, money is far more valuable than time, even if the monetary donation is less than the value of the time the donor planned to spend. In these cases, it may be best to direct to these charities any monetary contributions you can afford to give, reserving your volunteer hours for charities that are better set up to handle volunteers. (As an alternative, you may be able to volunteer to be a volunteer coordinator for your chosen charity, ensuring that other volunteers' efforts can be directed to their highest and best purpose.)
Remember That No Donation is Too Large or Small
Charitable contributions can add significant value to the donor's life along with providing direct benefits to the charity at issue. Although it can be easy to feel discouraged if you can't afford to donate money to a cause that's close to your heart, donors need to remember that there's no such thing as a too-small donation. Assuming a charity is set up to accommodate volunteers, donating even just an hour or two a month can make a difference for all involved.
Donating Time Can Encourage Monetary Donations Later
Many donors may find themselves more easily able to free up money to donate to a charity after they've begun donating their time. Many people tend to want to give money to organizations they're involved in and engaged with, and gaining an inside view of a particular organization through volunteering can give donors the buy-in they need to commit their money, whether now or later.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.
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