We’ve listed a few of the smart ways you can go about helping a charity – how and when you want.
Give a little time
Microvolunteering is charity work that can be done in very small, bite-size chunks of time (30 minutes). Go to charitysa.co.za to see how you can help organisations, whether it’s doing food collections, collecting for stationery drives for school children, or visiting animal rescue centres to walk dogs.
Help a charity by honing in on what you’re good at. If sport is your thing, there are schools and childcare facilities, such as score.org.za in Cape Town, where you can volunteer to coach or play sport with children. You can even walk or run for a charity – see walkthetalk.co.za or comrades.com. Good at knitting? Teach it to underprivileged people at a charity, such as the Joburg-based Chevrah Kadisha’s organisation (see jhbchev.co.za). A flair for reading? Why not read to children? The national Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment project is a great initiative (see nalibali.org).
Give a little cash
DreamWorker is a Cape Town-based non-profit social development organisation dedicated to alleviating unemployment. One of the easiest ways to donate for their cause is to visit dreamworker.org.za to ‘Link your Love’ – where you donate R100, which DreamWorker uses to pay an unemployed person to do work in their community for a day. You’re not only helping employ someone for a day, you’re also helping that person uplift their own community through their work.
Want to run, walk, paddle, swim or cycle for charity? Set up a fundraising blog on doit4charity.co.za for free, as long as it’s for an SA-registered non-profit charity.
Donate unwanted goods
Clothes, textiles and toys are wanted by Hospice charity shops who will sell them to raise funds for their patients. See hospicewits.co.za (Joburg), hospice.co.za (Durban), and stlukes.co.za (Cape Town).
Share or discover a passion
Give your time or share your knowledge to help with a community food garden or to help green areas by planting trees. These are sustainable projects in urban areas set up by local volunteers or organisations and range from developing community food gardens to sponsoring indigenous or fruit trees for planting in dusty township areas.
Organisers set up Volunteer Days whenever there’s a need for extra helping hands in planting trees or food gardens. Volunteers with no gardening knowledge are as welcome as keen gardeners are, just submit your details and you’ll be told about Volunteer Days in your area. Visit trees.co.za to sign up as a volunteer and get in touch directly.
Give time to man’s best friend
Many stray or abandoned animals homed in shelters are in need of some love and attention. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has shelters around SA where volunteers can walk or play with the animals, or assist with chores like cage cleaning. Smaller organisations like Wet Nose Animal Rescue Centre and Kitty Shelter also invite volunteers to visit and help with tasks, while giving the animals a bit of care. You may end up sponsoring, fostering or adopting a pet.
Locate an SPCA or animal shelter in your area and contact them about volunteering or visiting for a few hours. They’ll let you know what you might need to bring, how best you can help and when the best times are to visit. Get in touch with your local SPCA by visiting nspca.co.za. Also see wetnose.org.za, and kittyshelter.co.za. Or search online to find out about other local shelters.