If you haven’t yet been nominated for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, chances are you will be soon. This challenge, which went viral in June 2014, has raised more than 40 million dollars for ALS research. (ALS is a disease of the nervous system more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.)
The spread of ALS awareness through the Ice Bucket Challenge has increased the ALS Association’s donations to more than twice their total in 2013. The premise is that once a person is challenged, they have 24 hours to dump a bucket of ice-cold water on their head, and donate any sum to ALS research, or else donate $100 (the trend set by President Barack Obama).
While this pop culture fundraising phenomenon has raised a lot of criticism for various reasons, it does show that giving to charity doesn’t have to be boring.
Here are a few more ideas:
How to Support Your Favorite Charity
1. Get active
More and more charity organizations are using active events to encourage donations. This includes 5K runs/walks, relays, golf scrambles, and more. Many people will willingly donate money to be able to do something they enjoy. I’ve personally donated to numerous causes through my participation in running events, and I’m always looking for good charities to support in this way.
Not only do these types of events create awareness, raise funds, and bring together the community — they encourage physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle. Starting out with a 5K walk or run and seeing your time improve is a great incentive and reward for donating money. I encourage you to sign up for one today!
2. Buy raffle tickets
We’re all familiar with Girl Scouts and their method of fundraising: selling addictive, over-priced cookies and chocolate bars to guilt-ridden relatives and friends. That’s not to say this type of fundraising isn’t effective or time-honored; the market is simply over-flooded. This is when it pays for charities to get creative with their products.
Raffles and silent auctions involving large items like exclusive autographed memorabilia, vacation packages, and vehicles are getting more popular because people will pay for the chance to win them. The next time you pass a raffle, consider the charity it’s supporting. Even if it’s not something you want, it might make a great gift.
3. Give donations as gifts
Speaking of gifts, there are just some people who are hard to buy for. Why not make a donation in their name to a charity or cause that is close to their heart? I’ve done this numerous times for my grandmother, who insists she doesn’t want gifts. This allows me to do something for her and the charity at the same time. Some charities send out “gift catalogs” close to the holidays with suggested donation amounts and what each gift will provide.
Whatever ways you find to give, make sure you do it with joy and not simply out of obligation or just for the federal tax write-off. Some of the best rewards have nothing to do with finances.