Raise Money for Charity this Year

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Are you casting around for something different to do this year? We tend to think of ourselves as the heroes in our own story, and it can be difficult to raise our gaze from our own problems sometimes. Money worries, issues at work, or with finding the right work, romantic blights or hopes that seem to be unreciprocated: all of these can make it seem as though our lives are insurmountably problematic. But when we do make the effort to look at others, and their concerns, we quite often discover that we are actually lucky compared to the situations that others find themselves in.

Homelessness, poverty, hate crimes and domestic violence are just some of the issues that people face on a depressingly regular basis, and it is sometimes not easy to spot the victims of these social ills. Pride, and the desire to not be seen as a ‘taker’, often spur people to covering up their issues, pretending that their lives are just fine and that they do not need help. So it is almost certain that the visibly in-need are in bad enough of a situation that they can no longer keep up the appearance of normality: and it is these people who need help.

It is a fact that volunteering and working with charities is good for us in a very tangible way: blood pressure is reduced, serotonin levels are boosted and cortisol is lowered – these are the ‘feel good’ hormone and the ‘stress hormone’ respectively – which has a salutary effect on both your mood and your physical health. Depression and mental health issues are on the up, of late, and this can be attributed to an apparent paradox: we can communicate with people all over the world – and yet we are forming close bonds with fewer people. This means that people can feel isolated and ‘out of it’ even though they have multiple online contacts all over the world with whom they correspond almost daily.

You can choose to be happy, and it can start with a good deed, done altruistically – without any expectation of reward for your actions – by simply getting involved with a charity or other good cause.

Find your passion

When looking for somewhere to volunteer your efforts, always follow your passion – working for a cause in which you are not invested will not have as good an effect on your wellbeing, while working with a cause that is close to your heart means that you will be invested in it, and will work harder and find more satisfaction in helping to eradicate the problem, whatever it might be. You may be more of an animal lover than a people person: there are plenty of animal charities and shelters who rely on volunteers to look after the animals and raise awareness of their needs.

A word to the wise, though. Do be careful not to get carried away with your good works to the point that you neglect the wishes and dignity of those you are helping. Feeding the homeless is noble and kind: expecting him or her to pose for a photo in a position of cringing servility and gratitude for your kindness, just so you can boast about your feat of generosity on social media… Not so much.

Raise Awareness

Once you have found the cause that you want to support, get started. You could go for a sponsored activity: giving away free hugs, skydiving or bungee jumping, or simply open a crowd-funding link. Whatever you do, keep the text as light-hearted as you can. You may want to explain just how horrific problems can be, but being too graphic on social media has two major problems. Firstly, if the post is reported as being too distressing, you might lose access to your account for a couple of weeks which will be the end of your campaign on that particular network. Secondly, people, even the most soft-hearted, generous, and kindly, will scroll past or click off a post that has too much graphic detail in it. When it comes to social media use Twitter and Facebook, but also Snapchat and Instagram to make sure you appeal to youngsters by plenty of emojis. Include plenty of emojis to break up blocks of text, and include images of yourself or your team – if people feel that they know you, they will be more supportive, which will hopefully translate to being more generous!

It has long been known that it is nice to be nice – and it is also good for your health, both mental and physical. So do something nice for others this year, and reap the benefits as you do so: not longer will your feel good about yourself, you will be healthier and more optimistic to boot.

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