Accomplishing a bit of do-goodery can be daunting in the busy world we all inhabit. Higher education, kids, spouses, jobs, couponing, housework. Phew! The list is endless. We all want to help but it is hard to find the time. The solution (yes, there is one) is… drumroll… mutli-tasking. You were expecting something revolutionary? This is common sense, but it works. Combine your personal goals with charity work, and show the pros how it’s done!

The Body

  • Exercise (heck, any personal time) can be difficult to justify when you’re busy, but you can give it a whole new level of importance on your to-do list when you combine it with giving back. Visit care.org workout, and log your workout minutes. Eric Harr, a fitness expert who authored the popular Gold Digger Fitness, will donate $5 to CARE for every hour you log. Log 100 hours and you can show your accomplishment with an “I Am Powerful” T-shirt! The program recently reached its first $50,000 goal and is gearing up for the next step, so visit the website regularly to find the next start date!
  • Sign up for a charity walk or run when you’ve built up some stamina. These activities are popular among a multitude of high-profile charities, such as the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s Race for the Cure and the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, and are also catching on among smaller organizations, like regional dog rescue groups. If your preferred charity doesn’t have a walk or run organized yet, volunteer to start one! Choose your passion, and get fit while you help out! Bonus: no gym membership required.
  • Another creative way to tie your fitness to doing good for others is HealthyWage. This site provides the chance to bet on your weight loss goals. For example, you could earn $200 if you stick to your plan and see results, or you could pay up $100 if you don’t. Don’t want to front any money? Participate to earn incentive. Use your winnings to donate to your favorite charity!

 The Mind

  • Keep your brain sharp (or prevent your kids from getting rusty over the summer) by using trivia games for charity. Free Rice donates 10 grains of rice through the World Food Programme for each correct answer in a range of subjects including math, English, humanities, chemistry, geography, and even SAT test prep. At Games That Give, choose the game and the charity. For every minute of play, the organization donates ten cents to that charity. Currently they support games such as sudoku, memory games, and word search, so you can easily get a good brain workout! Some of their charities include UNICEF, Breast Cancer network of Strength, Feeding America, and DoSomething.org.
  •  Often, our own hobbies and passions are sacrificed for the family. But what if your skills and knowledge were used to help others? Experienced dancer? Teach free basic dance classes to young children at your local community center. Great at math? Help out at a local tutoring center for at-risk youth (check with your local elementary school or YMCA). Miss horseback riding? Volunteer with an organization like VTEA that provides therapeutic horseback riding to those who are disabled or have special needs. You can engage in your hobbies without investing money, but instead investing in someone else’s well-being.

The Soul

  • Recently moved or feeling a little lonely? Charity work provides a great avenue into meeting people with similar interests. Expand your social circle by volunteering at large group projects, such as Habitat for Humanity. Form bonds with a small group of people by mentoring, whether out and about with the Big Brothers or Big Sisters of America or from the comfort of your home with Infinite Family, which connects you to a teenager in South Africa whose life has been affected by AIDS. Charity can also be a great–and free! Instead of spending money at the movies, get together with your besties and brainstorm a charity project to tackle. Clothes drive? Bake sale for your favorite charity? Let your fun times be another’s lifeline.
  • Need a break from the kids? Get some me-time while teaching your children compassion and responsibility through charity work. Encourage the kids to volunteer at the soup kitchen or animal shelter while you enjoy some quiet-time. Volunteering is one summer activity that costs nothing. Or use the summer to bond with your kids and join them in their kid-friendly volunteer projects!

Charitable multitasking provides a sense personal accomplishment and the fulfillment of doing something good for someone else. Best of all? You did it for free!

 This has been a guest post by Brittany from Sacramento, CA
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4 thoughts on “Efficient Charity: How to Help Your World, Waist and Wallet”

  1. Laura says:

    When I worked with a before and after school program, I registered all of my students (even the kindergartners and special needs–they can learn from it too!) with FreeRice so that they could learn about giving to others in need while using some brain muscle. :)

    • Laura says:

      And to clarify, the questions and subjects on freerice are geared towards fifth grade and up. Not dissing my precious younger kids and special needs kids!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Good post!  Don’t forget the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training Program.  They supply you with professional coaches in running, swimming and biking!