In 2020, this has been evidenced by the unexpected outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus, which originated in China’s city of Wuhan, and has now spread to more than 75 countries across the globe. Benefactors – from large conglomerates such as Qatar Airways to much smaller local companies like South Africa’s own mask manufacturer U-Mask, and even the average person on the street – have sent much-needed supplies to affected areas, selflessly using their own resources to assist those most in need, including abandoned pets.
Volunteering time is not always possible amid the humdrum of everyday life, and shrinking economies also mean most of us don’t have large sums of money to donate either. So how then does one incorporate more charitable efforts into their every life in this great time of need? Here are some easy yet impactful ways:
Enter the budget
Budgets are predominantly used as a planning tool, and are unique to each individual’s needs and circumstances. While budgets don’t traditionally include a charitable component, it’s a practice that can improve your bottom line – no matter the state of your bank balance.
Sign up for a membership
Non-profit organisations (NPOs) do amazing work but are often highly under-resourced. Whether you’re into art, nature or animals, sign up for a membership at your local museum, national park or aquarium. Memberships are generally a once-off annual fee and you can enjoy all the perks that come with being a member, such as discounted rates at the museum shop and anytime access to pet the penguins or watch a feeding.
Shop with purpose
Think of all the ways you already spend your money. If you are all about female empowerment, perhaps there are women-run businesses that sell products you regularly buy. Or if you’ve decided to go green, shop at stores that offer better sustainable buys that are already on your grocery list. You can also sign up for a free MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet card at myschool.co.za or download the app, which allows you to donate to organisations of your choice every time you swipe your card at one of its retail partners – without it costing you a cent.
Donate in a socially responsible way
Quicket and The Haven Night Shelter have teamed up to create the shelter passport, enabling anyone to go online and buy a passport filled with printable, charity-ready reprieve for those in need. Each ticket guarantees the grateful recipient a hot meal, a shower and a bed for the night (provided there is one free) at any Haven night shelter in the Western Cape. In addition, they’ll receive access to the assistance the Haven provides, such as social services and helping to get people back on their feet. Each passport contains five tickets priced at R12 per ticket, and they never expire.
Gift with a purpose
The most heartfelt and sustainable gifts are those that endure long after they’ve been given. Instead of cash handouts, Relate, a 100% not-for-profit social enterprise, provides those living in poverty with education and skills training tools to uplift themselves. The products — beautiful hand-made beaded bracelets — are sold through retail and corporate partners with revenue going directly to the causes. The organisation’s most recent project, DIG60, in association with Ikamva Labantu, aims to honour South Africa’s elder population while providing support to those in need. Purchase your own Relate bracelet for a cause close to your heart at relate.org.