Tonight I’m directing a charity concert called Broadway Can that features Broadway actors singing as part of a benefit to raise money for City Harvest. I direct this concert just about every year if I’m not out of town working. In the summer, I also usually direct another charity concert called Broadway Meows to raise money for the Humane Society. I’m really happy to be a part of both of these events- they’re for two great causes, and are also really fun to work on. In fact, even if the concerts weren’t to raise money for charity, I’d still enjoy being part of them. I like the people I’m working with and also like theater.
It’s great to find causes that fit your personality- things you care about. When I used to think about giving money to charity, I’d feel guilty. I’d think, ‘I’ve never served meals to the homeless on Thanksgiving…I probably should’ and ‘I probably need to make time to work in a soup kitchen one day in order to give back.’ But those thoughts just fleetingly crossed my mind and I didn’t do either of them.
For most of my life, I never really focused on charity…I guess because I felt like I didn’t know exactly where to donate, or felt like I had no money or that every spare dollar I had needed to go toward my student loan, or I didn’t know which cause I should focus on or whether charities were really putting the money to good use.
But lately, I’ve started to see causes all around me where I can easily, happily give back- and in some cases, such as directing the concerts, have already been giving back.
I have dozens of friends putting up theater all over the city. There’s always a fundraising campaign and various fundraising ideas underway for these projects. I usually try to donate what I can- supporting the arts is important to me, especially when I know the people creating the art. Also, I have lots of friends who run or walk to raise money for a cause, and I donate what I can to their fundraising campaigns. It all adds up- even small amounts.
So I don’t need to necessarily be at a soup kitchen serving meals to help others. There are so many different ways to give back that I hadn’t thought of before, even if I have no time, or no money to spare.
Here are some ideas for giving back when you have more time than money:
- VolunteerMatch -Connects you to a project in your city which caters to your strengths and hobbies.
- VolunteerYourTime.org– Similar to above
- Lionbrand- You can make something for charity! Can you knit? Or sew? Make goods for someone in need!
- Locks of Love– Takes hair donations when you get your long hair cut!
- Nike Turn Your Miles (Red)– Are you a runner? If you use the free Nike+ App, Bank of America will donate 40 cents for every mile you run to the Global Fund to Fight Aids with (Red).
- Here’s a list of some more charities you can support without donating any money!
Some ideas for when you have more money than time, but aren’t sure what organizations to choose, or are suspicious of where your money is actually going:
- Donate to a friend’s fundraising page for their theater or artistic project, or their charity walk or run for a cause. There are many fundraising ideas- check out their Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaigns!
- Charity Navigator – Tracks charitable Organizations’ performance and effectiveness, so you can find the most effective charities.
- Guidestar.org – Similar to Charity Navigator above.
- GreatNonprofits.org – This is like the Yelp of nonprofits! Read lots of charity reviews.
- Philanthropedia– Charity ratings by a group of experts in over 35 different fields.
I hope these lists help you help others…and I strongly believe you’ll end up helping yourself along the way!