Giving back when time is not on your side
Charitable work is a great way to give back and build strong communities. Commitments to work and family can make it hard to find time to give back, but even the most time-pressed individuals can take steps to make the world a better place.
• Become a more eco-conscious shopper. When shopping for clothing, groceries and other items, consumers who want to give back to their communities can do so by looking for locally produced products. Such products support local businesses, and a successful local economy serves as a great foundation for community. In addition, purchasing locally produced goods such as groceries greatly reduces your carbon footprint, which benefits both your local community and the planet as a whole.
• Look for fair trade products. The Fair Trade Federation is a trade association that looks to build equitable and sustainable trading partnerships and create opportunities to alleviate poverty. Fair trade aims to provide safe working conditions and fair pay for all workers. While coffee and chocolate might be the goods most often associated with fair trade, the FTF notes that fair trade encompasses a wide variety of agricultural and handcrafted goods, including clothing, rice, soap, toys, and wine. Products that are sold with the Fair Trade Federation logo have undergone a rigorous screening process to ensure they are committed to the principles of fair trade. More information about fair trade is available at www.fairtradefederation.org.
• Give back when you buy something. Consumers can give back simply by making purchases. For example, the AmazonSmile Foundation donates 0.5 percent of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of the buyer’s choice. Many of the products available on Amazon.com, which operates AmazonSmile, are eligible for such donations. Users simply type smile.amazon.com into their web browser and choose a charity they wish to support. When making purchases, do so via smile.amazon.com instead of amazon.com. Bstow.com is another charitable endeavor that enables users to automatically donate the spare change from everyday purchases.
• Become a financial donor. If you don’t have the time to volunteer, then offer your financial support. Many charitable organizations would cease to exist without donations from private citizens. Such donations help charities fund their programs and cover their operational costs.
Time constraints make it difficult for many people to volunteer. But there are many ways to support worthy causes even if you don’t have the time to volunteer.