4 Things to Consider When Volunteering or Fundraising for a Cause | Campaigning, Education & Activism

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In our Campaigning, Education & Activism blogs, we share tools, tips and resources to help you help the causes you care about.

At the Do Something Directory, our one goal is to help you help the causes you care about. But whether you’re looking to campaign, fundraise or volunteer for an organisation or cause, there are a few important things to consider before deciding where to spend your time and money.

Your Aim

Do you want to raise a certain amount of money for a specific organisation, or raise awareness of a specific issue? Or do you want to offer hands-on help in a specific location or to a specific community? Knowing exactly what you want to do will inform all your decisions going forward, especially if you’re not sure if you want to volunteer or fundraise (or both!). In 1983, Michael Locke, whose daughter was finishing chemotherapy, decided to raise one million pounds for Cancer Research UK. It took him until 2022 to reach his target, but he knew what he wanted to achieve and tried fundraising methods such as sponsored walks, store collections and even selling marmalade.

If you’ve been impacted by an illness and want to help others going through your experience, you could volunteer with a local community group or in your local hospital. If you’ve been impacted by an illness and want to raise public awareness of the disease, a fundraising campaign might be more effective.

Time Required

Our directory tells you roughly how many hours or days are required from volunteers. But we’re just a guide, and we don’t know your personal circumstances. Consider how much time you really have at your disposal to fundraise or volunteer. Work out a ‘time budget’ as you might a monetary budget. How many hours do you spend on your everyday activities per week, and how many hours are spare? Don’t forget to factor in travel time if it’s relevant, or logistics regarding transport or paperwork.

runners' legs in a row, wearing trainers, socks, ribbons, leggings and tutus

Costs Involved

Some fundraising opportunities come with hidden costs, while volunteer roles will likely come with more obvious expenses. Crowdfunding platforms may charge a fee – meaning that a £10 donation won’t actually mean £10 goes straight to your cause – so do your homework on which platform to use to get the most from donations.

A volunteer opportunity might be several miles from your home and require fuel or public transport costs. If it’s home-based you should factor in whether the organisation covers telephone or internet charges. Some opportunities might be in a different country all together! You can volunteer at two of our animal rights entries, Soi Dog Foundation in Thailand and ARCHELON in Greece, but volunteers will have to cover costs including flights and accommodation.

Different Organisations and Their Goals

We recommend comparing different organisations that help your cause, and focussing on those to which you, individually, can offer the most help. HARP is a charity in Southend-on-Sea, UK, helping those facing homelessness in the area. It may require different skills, time and activities of its volunteers than Shelter, a UK-wide charity focussing on providing advice and campaigning for law changes. While HARP might need a kitchen volunteer in a specific location for set hours, Shelter might want volunteers for just a handful of events per year. Similarly, some refugee organisations or women’s shelters will have enough donated clothes that a clothing drive or sponsored knitathon is unnecessary – but they might desperately need toiletries or books, or volunteers who can spend a bit of time helping people learn English.

dozens of used books in boxes

Supporting a good cause shouldn’t cause you financial stress or take over your daily life – so make sure you’re aware of everything involved when embarking on your volunteer role or fundraising campaign!

Do you have any tips for people looking to campaign or fundraise for a cause? Let us know in the comments!

Last updated on 8th August 2022

Published by Francesca

Author • Founder and Managing Director of the Do Something Directory • Still can't believe MCR reunited.

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