Many claim that the Valentine’s Day was invented by capitalists that wanted to boost the florists’s market. Some complain that celebrating love shouldn’t take place only one day a year. I agree, but I also think that any excuse is good to share positive vibes, kindness and love. The more, the better.
Spreading love does not have to be in a form of flowers and love letters, it can be an act of helping others. I am engaged in different community projects and often people ask me: “But how can I help?”. This Valentine’s Day I give you some ideas of how you can contribute to the community and support others in need:
Organize a fundraising event to collect money for those in need. Make some publicity around it – set-up an event on Facebook, inform your friends, colleagues and neighbors. Some great events could be:
1. A quiz with an entry fee
You can organize it in your local bar or pub. It’s a pure win-win situation: You make a promotion for them so they get customers and you have a possibility to collect some money for person in need. Ask people to participate in groups. Prepare questions on various topics (e.g. 5 round, 10 question each). The winner gets the pride. Fun guaranteed and the more people you manage to invite, the more money you will be able to gather.
2. Bake sale at work or in your local yard
Ask some friends that enjoy backing to help you prepare such a sale. If you are planning to do it at work: make sure that you ask your employer in advance if she/he is OK with that. In my company we organize a Christmas Market every December and the money collected goes to children in orphanages.
3. Sponsored run
Are you fit and love jogging, swimming or cycling? You can ask your friends to donate money for a good cause by running a marathon or taking part in a triathlon.
4. Donate your blood
It’s very easy – the only condition is that you need to be healthy (there are couple of healthy requirements) and have more than 1,5 g/dL hemoglobin in your blood. The drawn blood will be used in blood transfusions, during surgeries, for people that had some serious accidents or suffer under leukemia. Speaking from my experience, you just need your ID and the whole process procedure takes less than 10 minutes.If you are unsure where to donate your blood in your city, just ask your house doctor and she/he will give you further instructions.
5. Donate your bone marrow
Every 3 minutes someone is diagnosed with blood cancer (leukemia). 480 people each day. If you are aged 18-44 you can maybe be someone’s match (I am still waiting for my match) and save their lives. The whole donation process takes around 20-30 hours of time spread out over four-to-six-week period. There are two donation methods: peripheral blood stem cell (PBSC) and marrow. It’s doctor’s decision which method would be the best for the patient. You can read more about the methods and the donation process on Be The Match.
6. Make use of special occasions
Ask friends, family and colleagues for a financial contribution towards a charity of your choice instead of presents for your birthday, Christmas, Hanukkah, graduation or any other similar event. Most people would like the idea to support such a good cause, but just remember to inform everyone beforehand!
7. Donate items you don’t need
How many clothes that you don’t wear and books that you don’t read do you have stored at home? There are man people that could use them. So don’t hesitate and get rid of them by donating it to someone in need.
SPEND YOUR TIME WISELY
8. Organize a workshop
If you have any special skills like dancing, painting, you know a foreign language or you are great in maths: you can ask your local after school club or an orphanage if they might need some help in teaching. You will do what you like and others can benefit from your knowledge.
Some community places need a renovation urgently. Maybe you and your co-workers could arrange some paints and refresh a room in a local hospital or shelter. It is also a great integration activity that builds the team spirit.
10. Make use of your holidays
If you don’t have any idea what to do during upcoming holidays, taking part in a volunteering program might be something you could consider. New pair of hands are always welcome. There are many suspicious organizations. Important thing is to look for a registered NGO. A trust-worthy organization that I know is Globalteer. Crucial is not to mix up volunteering with voluntourism. Volunteering in a remote destination does not mean it has to end when you go back home. After coming back from my volunteering in Cambodia, I organized a charity lottery at my work which was well received by the organization I helped and my company. Take a look on our Charity Lottery promotional movie.
11. Discover Matched Giving Programme
Matched giving is when an employer matches a donation made by an employee to a non-profit organisation. This means if you have contributed $500 towards your chosen volunteer donation, your employer would match this with another $500! Double check whether your company is supporting this kind of programme.
12. Get extra days off for volunteering
You can check if your employer has a policy for giving extra paid days off for volunteering so you use less of your vacation time. I recently took part in a internal competition in my company and was granted a whole day off for volunteering activities of my choice.