Money is tight for many individuals and businesses in these tough economic times. Unfortunately, when money is tight, the first thing cut from many budgets is charitable donations to needy organizations and ideas for silent auction worthwhile causes. Which sadly hurts those organizations that are trying the most to help those in need. If your cash flow is tight, you don’t have to stop giving. Rather, instead of giving cash, perhaps you can still give in other ways. This column is intended to suggest 10 ways you can continue giving to the groups or causes of your choice in ways other than direct cash.
1.Volunteer to Serve.: Volunteering to serve doesn’t have to be painful. Simply locate a cause or group that you believe in, and offer to serve. Perhaps you can volunteer to serve on a committee, or as the head of a committee. Perhaps you can volunteer to serve as an officer of the group. Or just as a worker who helps out when needed. Volunteering costs you nothing monetarily, and your support can often benefit the group far more than cash.
2. Offer Your Professional Services : Professional services cost groups money, and far too often they don’t have the budget to hire the resources they need to grow. So instead of donating cash, help by contributing your professional services. I’m an Auctioneer, and my wife is a cancer survivor. As a result we offer our Fund Raising Auction Services to any nearly any credible group that raises money to fight this dreaded disease. If you are a lawyer, accountant, or marketing professional, offer those services to your preferred group or cause. If your company cleans offices or polishes floors, offer to help in that way. Dittos on web design, administrative support, creative writing, etc. Every dollar you save a group in expenses is just as good as a dollar donated as revenue.
3. Sell Your Professional Services to Benefit the Cause : As a Fund Raising Auctioneer I know from experience that professional services can sell extremely well at a Fund Raising Auction. Whether a Live or Silent Auction, professional services can raise big money for the group of your choice. For example, I have sold such services as:
- A gardener to weed a garden.
- An artist to paint a personal or family portrait.
- A Fire Chief who offered to take children for a ride on a fire truck.
- A tour of city hall and lunch with a Mayor.
- A lawyer to perform a simple will.
- A dentist who offered a teeth whitening service.
- A painter who offered to paint a room or office.
The list goes on. Whatever your profession or expertise, there is someone out there willing to purchase that service to benefit the right cause.
4. Offer Up a Free Presentation in Your Field of Expertise : We all specialize in something, whether it is a career field or a personal hobby. A presentation by you can benefit your group in one of three ways.
- A free presentation to group members can teach them a new skill.
- A fee-based presentation open to the general public, with all fees going to your chosen group, can raise well-needed funds for the group.
- Or you can donate an honorarium that you may receive, for speaking elsewhere, directly to your group.
5. Offer Free Professional Services Directly to Someone in Need : The primary objective of many groups is to help those in need. Perhaps in lieu of donating cash to your group, you can offer your services directly to a family in need. Maybe you can help to tutor a child in a needy family, offer music lessons to a family that cannot afford them, or provide transportation services to church, the doctor, or elsewhere for someone who cannot drive.