The art of giving

There is real joy in giving to those less fortunate. Not only does it greatly benefit those in need, it can be a positive and personally rewarding experience for you and your family. But where do you start? Well here are my 7 steps to giving this Christmas.

1. Do a little research and create a list of charities in your local area.
Many great charities and foundations work on a local level (especially initiatives that are ran by just a few volunteers) or state level such as women’s refuges, children’s hospitals and homeless shelters, so investigate what places operate local to you. Most national and international organisations will have drop off points in each of the major towns. Following natural disasters, as recently seen in the Philippines, there will be an increase in drop off points from local churches to shopping centres; these are often advertised on your local community boards. You do not want to package everything up only to realise your local drop off point is a 5 day drive away! I have attached few websites to get you started at the end of this article.

2. Sit down as a family and choose a charity or charities that are meaningful to your family.
Giving to a charity that you have a personal connection too will motivate you to stay focussed, give more and you will find it even more rewarding. When my family does this, we like to look on each of the websites and see how many people they have reached, who has benefited, different schemes and initiatives they have running, how long they have been running and if they have a major sponsor and what items they are looking for. I encourage each family member to donate or collect for a different charity, that way your children get the chance to feel as though they have independently made a difference. This can mean a few more trips in the car; however when your child walks into their chosen charity with a box full of goodies, the beaming and proud smile on their face will out way the extra time and fuel money!

3. Make a plan and schedule some time.
It is important to set aside a realistic amount of time here. The last thing you want to do is to start pulling a zillion items out of your cupboards and then have to leave it unfinished. Decide which area you are going to tackle i.e. wardrobe, book stand, and kitchen and place labelled boxes in each of those areas. You do not want to go back through and separate children’s toys from women’s clothes. If I am doing a big cleanout I tend to do it when the little ones are not around and then add to it when they can watch me. When placing items in the box I explain out loud how I have come to my decision and who I think will benefit from it. I.e. “Mummy doesn’t need this dress anymore, I have many other dresses and this one really isn’t my favourite, but I bet it would make another mummy who doesn’t have many dresses really happy”. This will help when we get to their bedrooms! My children really enjoy discussing who they www.massagemetro.com/shop/cialis/ think would like each item and their predicted response. For example “I think that there will be a little girl who will love this Barbie doll and it will make her very excited when she gets it”

4. Stay organised
Having a home that is free of unnecessary stuff means not only are you making a difference but you will have a lot less clutter around you. Start the New Year with clean organised cupboards and I can guarantee you will feel better for it. If you have space, try placing a box in each wardrobe to place unwanted items in throughout the year. It will make giving at Christmas a breeze!

5. It’s not all toys and books
Donations do not need to come in the form of unwanted items. Time is an incredibly precious gift to give especially in today’s time poor world. Just about every charity or not for profit organisation could use an extra set of hands! Whether it is helping out at a drop in centre preparing meals, cleaning out animal shelters or lending a few hours to sorting clothes at your local op shop it all helps and you might even just enjoy it!
With so many families going without food this Christmas popping a few extra items in the shopping trolley, even if it means cutting back on a few extras on your list will ensure that those less fortunate receive the basics this festive season.

6. Think twice when buying gifts
We’ve all been in that situation where we find ourselves buying a gift for someone just for the sake of having something to hand over. We have no idea if they will use it or not and often don’t care! Well perhaps this Christmas consider giving a gift, for the person with everything, with a bit more meaning. There are some fantastic foundations that allow you to buy a gift that will make a huge impact on another person’s family, village or even animals life. A great example of this is http://www.hollows.org.au/ where you can help restore sight to a young child for as little as $25.00! Most even come with a printable gift certificate.

7. Inspire others to follow your lead.
If you are donating to specific groups let your friends know when you will be going there and what they are in need of. Perhaps even get a group going between your friends. It can be terribly inspiring and warming when you open your eyes to the many, many good deeds that are being carried out. Too often we focus on the negative and forget to acknowledge the beautiful acts of kindness happening all around you and remember giving is contagious.

Here are a few ideas on where to donate
www.vinnies.org.au
peopleneedpeople.org.au/
www.hollows.org.au/
www.givenow.com.au/otherways
www.donationdropoff.org/
www.care.org.au
www.thesmithfamily.com.au
/www.goodreturn.org
www.habitat.org.au/philippines

Additional information
The majority of funds raised by charities and foundations across Australia are made up of small donations rather than large corporate donations.
If it is broken, stained or not working please throw it away as it only wastes volunteer’s time when they have to sort and throw away broken donations.
If you are unsure about the charity you are donating to:-
a) Check that it is a registered charity, at: http://www.asic.gov.au/asic/asic.nsf/byheadline/Charities+registered+with+the+ACNC
b) Make sure that the contact details and information on the website is easy to find.