| You care about an issue -- child
abuse, the importance of the arts in the lives of children, dogs
and cats in the local animal shelter, trash in the environment,
childhood obesity, senior abuse, home gardening, organic farming,
bicycle commuting -- and you want to educate people about it, to
make a difference, to raise awareness, and maybe even to raise
money. But you are just one person and you don't have much
money, or any money, to donate to the cause.
How can you be an advocate for an issue that's important to
- Start educating yourself about the issue you feel strongly
about. Find organizations that are addressing the issue and
visit their web sites, and read them. Subscribe to their email
newsletters, if they have such, and read them. If they have
public events focused on learning about their work (rather
than fundraising events), attend them. Your goal is to become
knowledgeable about the issue.
- If an organization that is addressing a cause you care
about involves volunteers, then sign up to volunteer. If you
aren't sure if they involve volunteers, write them and tell
them how you would like to help them as a volunteer.
- Never say or imply that you are somehow an official
representative of any organization, even if you are
volunteering with the organization. You are a concerned
individual, but you are not a representative of any
- Invite your friends to volunteer with you, or to go to an
event by the organization with you.
- Occasionally use your status update on FaceBook,
MySpace and any other
online social networking site you use to talk about what these
organizations are doing. It can be this simple:
Our local animal shelter is looking for volunteers
this Saturday to help at such-and-such event. If you are
interested, call xxx-xxxx.
So-and-so organization is working in Haiti. Have a look
at their web site and read about their program to employ
local people in rebuilding their own houses, hospitals and
Did you know that you can save money by growing your own
victory garden, just like your grandparents? Visit the
so-and-so web site for free information on how to do this.
- Turn your birthday party into a fundraiser for your cause.
Invite friends to your house or to a restaurant, and ask in
your invitation that, in lieu of gifts, people make donations
to a nonprofit organization addressing the cause you support.
- Host a party, cookout or reception at your home, invite
your friends (and encourage them to invite their
friends), and show a film or documentary relating to the cause
you want to educate your friends about. In your invitation,
note clearly that this is a fundraiser for a particular
organization and that you will be asking for donations; do NOT
wait until the party, cookout or reception to tell invitees
that you have invited them there in order to ask for
- Walk the talk when it comes to the cause you believe in. If
you want to advocate for people to commute to work by bicycle,
for instance, you need to be commuting by bicycle. If you want
people to use less electrical energy, you need to use less
electrical energy and show your friends what you are doing.
- With permission from an organization addressing the cause
you support, have a garage sale to raise money for the
organization. Ask friends, relatives, neighbors and others to
donate items for your sale. Have large signs at the garage
sale that say you are raising money for a particular
organization. Make it clear to those who buy items that they
will not receive any tax deduction for purchasing any
item, nor for making any donations directly to you. Write down
the amount of every sale and what the person bought.
- Work a series of jobs in the informal sector (walk dogs,
pet sit, provide child care/baby sit, do yard work for
neighbors and friends, etc.) and save some or all of the money
you make for your cause. Make it clear to those who buy items
that they will not receive any tax deduction for
employing your services, nor for making any donations directly
- Sell items on eBay. Ask
friends, relatives, neighbors and others to donate items for
your sale. Take the money that you raise and donate it to the
Volunteering To Help After
How to Make a Difference
Internationally/Globally/in Another Country Without
Ideas for Funding Your
Volunteering Abroad Trip.
Details on volunteering
abroad (volunteering internationally).
Using Your Business Skills for
Good - Volunteering Your Business Management Skills, to
help people starting or running small businesses / micro
enterprises, to help people building businesses in
high-poverty areas, and to help people entering or re-entering
the work force.
Finding Community Service and
Volunteering for Teens
How to Find Volunteering
Opportunities, a resource for adults who want to
Advice for Volunteer Groups / Group
Fund Raising For a Cause or
Creating or Holding a Successful
Community Event or Fund Raising Event.
Family Volunteer - Volunteering by
Families with Children.
Donating Things Instead of Cash
or Time (In-Kind Contributions)
Ideas for Leadership
These are more than just do-it-yourself volunteering - these
are ideas to create or lead a sustainable, lasting benefit to
a community, recruiting others to help and to have a
leadership role as a volunteer. These can also be activities
for the Girl Scouts Gold Award, the Duke of Edinburgh's Award
(U.K.), a mitzvah project, or even scholarship consideration.
Ideas for Creating Your Own
Details on how to quickly fill a community
service obligation from a court or school.
How to Get a Job with the United
Nations or Other International Humanitarian or
Careers Working With Animals
(for the benefit of animals)
Helping People Address Their
Problems with Plastic
How to mobilize a community to clean up plastic bottles,
plastic bags and other plastic waste from their environment,
and how to reduce their use of such items in the future
© 2010 by Jayne
Cravens, all rights reserved. No part of this material can
be reproduced in print or in electronic form without express
written permission by Jayne Cravens.
Volunteering Guidebook, available
for purchase as a paperback and an ebook from Energize,
or as a paperback
a Kindle book
This book is for both organizations new to virtual
volunteering, as well as for organizations already involving
online volunteers who want to improve or expand their
programs. The last chapter of the book is especially
for online volunteers themselves.