If you’re like me, you want to volunteer more, you want to give more, you want to get your kids involved, but wonder – How? How can we get involved with so little time, and so little money?
This Saturday is Family Volunteer Day, so I’m sharing 3 ways all families…even those that are time and cash-strapped…can make a difference in their community and the lives of others in need.
1. Shop, Save and Share.
Years ago I read the book, Shop, Save & Share by Ellie Kay and was incredibly inspired by her program that saves you money while providing you with more to share with others in need. I bought that book as well as her next book, How to Save Money Every Day. These books are permanent residents on my bookshelf that I peruse every so often for inspiration.
It’s a brilliant concept, really, and something many families do. By doing what you may already do, you can give to others at little or not cost to you (except the time spent clipping and shopping for the items).
Here’s what I do and recommend:
1) Plan shopping trips using shopping lists on sites like pocketyourdollars.com, which show you the best deals combining various available coupons & discounts.
2) Clip coupons for items based on your shopping list (step 1)
3) Donate some of your stockpile to charity
For example, I often get great deals on toiletries such as toothpaste by combining sale prices with coupons. I then end up with more toothpaste (or whatever) than I need, so I donate some.
This is a great way to involve your whole family. Depending on their age, kids can help clip coupons, help shop for deals and at the very least, help you donate the items to a charity of your choice. What a great lesson for kids!
There are many food shelves that will happily take donations. You can look up local Minnesota charities at sites like GiveMN.org. One I support through my church is PRISM (People Responding in Social Ministry) based in Golden Valley. I wrote about PRISM in an article on Red Current’s website here.
2. Doing Good Together.
Doing Good Together™ (DGT) is a Minneapolis-based national nonprofit that works to make volunteering and service, along with daily kindness, easy for every family.
I’ve subscribed to their email newsletter for a while now and there are a TON of great local opportunities for families to volunteer together. They also give lots of tips for things like inspiring awe and wonder in your child. It’s a valuable resource and you can sign up for this newsletter here.
Plus in honor of Family Volunteer Day – which is actually Saturday, November 22nd – they’re offering a free community-wide Family Service Fair at Midtown Global Market on Friday, November 21st starting at 5:00pm!
This is a great opportunity to get your family started in simple, kid-friendly volunteer projects. I have all the details here.
3. Shop on websites that donate part of your purchase at no additional cost to you.
Did you know you can donate money to local organizations simply by shopping like you normally would?
There are several websites out there that will donate a percentage of your purchase to an organization of your choice. Here are a couple of my favorites:
Amazon Smile – My church recently signed up for this. You just go to smile.amazon.com and login with your usual Amazon.com login information. Then you will be able to choose an organization that you want a percentage of you purchase to go to (enter the name or search).
The percentage is small: 0.5% of eligible items. But every little bit helps, and can add up if you shop on amazon.com regularly anyway. And if you’re a PRIME member (like I am), you can still enjoy all the usual PRIME benefits including free 2-day shipping.
Goodshop – Goodshop provides coupons and deals at thousands of stores AND donates a percentage of nearly every purchase back to the shopper’s favorite charity. Launched in 2006, the Goodshop family of sites has raised more than $11 million for its participating causes to date.
AND – Sunday, November 30th is Goodshop Sunday! It’s the day where thousands of merchants (including Amazon, Old Navy, Target, and Kohl’s) will be offering great deals and coupons on Goodshop.com AND donating a percentage of nearly every purchase back to the shopper’s favorite nonprofit or school (national or local). So it’s like Goodshop’s own Black Friday!
Actually, here are some pre-Black Friday deals you can get right now.
And there are many local nonprofits that Goodshop supports including:
Students Today Leaders Forever – STLF
Mount Olive Lutheran Church
Human Life Alliance – HLA
Engineers Without Borders-USA University
Sexual Violence Center
Minneapolis American Indian Center
Teen Challenge – Minnesota – MNTC
Another local blog, Family Fun Twin Cities, has more ideas for how families can do good together, and in connection they have a great giveaway as well! Check them out!