In these financially difficult times, many of us feel helpless to offer support for causes no matter how strongly we believe in them. But money isn’t the only form of support that many charities need, and you can still make a huge difference even if you are not in a position to offer financial assistance to your favorite group or animal shelter.
Although not all of us have much to spare, time is one of the greatest donations that you can make to a charity. Most animal shelters are always in need of volunteers willing to commit to a few hours a week, and you could find yourself filling a variety of roles, including animal care, marketing or reception work, or cage cleaning. If you have a specific skill in your job that could be of use, such as construction know-how or legal knowledge, why not call your local animal shelter to see if a volunteer position exists in your field?
Once you’ve secured your volunteer role, make sure that you are able to stick to a regular shift every week, and be ready to put in some honest work. Remember: Volunteers are there to relieve the burden on staff, so if staffers later have to redo tasks because they have been done poorly or incompletely, your presence will actually increase their workload rather than helping them. Think about what volunteer role suits you, and then commit to doing a great job—even if it’s not always fun or interesting—whether you’re volunteering at an animal shelter, at an event stall, or in an office.
If you find it too challenging emotionally or physically to volunteer in an animal shelter—or if you are allergic to animals or too young to volunteer—there are lots of other ways to become active for animals. Animal shelters often need a wide range of other types of donations, such as old sheets or towels and newspapers, and some charities can also use old mobile phones and computers. Just call them to see what items are needed.
Many people come up with their own inspiring ways to help animals, such as by hosting vegetarian cooking classes or raising funds through “fun runs” or other sponsored events. Or you can keep your eyes open for animal-related stories and write to editors and journalists asking them speak up for animals. You can also distribute leaflets and other educational material to friends and family or run a stall for fundraising and educational purposes at local events.
There are also plenty of ways to help animals on a daily basis: Go vegetarian and save 100 animals’ lives every year, have your own animal companions spayed or neutered and keep them safely indoors, and buy cruelty-free products to support companies that are doing the right thing for animals and the environment. Most importantly, spread the word about animal issues to everyone you know because, thanks to you, other people may choose to help out animals in their own way.
Posted by Claire Fryer