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Here’s How to Give Back Every Month of the Year

A woman doing volunteer work to feed people.

If one of your new year’s resolutions is to do something good for the world this year, it may be a good time to donate some of your time or money to a good cause. Here are some options.

January: Donate Blood

People’s donations of blood and plasma save lives and there is almost a shortage—especially because of disruptions to donation center schedules and blood drives in 2020 due to the pandemic. January is National Volunteer Blood Donor Month, so there’s no better time to donate and to help replenish the depleted blood reserves in the process.

There are some stipulations to donating, like not donating when you’re feeling under the weather, not taking any aspirin a couple of days before donating platelets, and being honest about recent tattoos and piercings when scheduling donations. You can get more info on the types of donations and what they entail at the American Red Cross website.

February: Help Out the Elderly

February is Kindness Month, which makes it a great time to be kind to older people. There are many ways to help out older generations, from checking in on your elderly neighbors to donating your time at a local assisted living facility.

For your neighbors—check on them, shovel their walk, ask if they need anything from the store when you’re heading out, or sit and chat with them for a while. At a facility—residents will enjoy all sorts of things, from playing card games to simply having someone to talk to.  Senior Care has information on how to get into volunteering at assisted living homes.

March: Make This Your Marathon Month

Marathons are a great way to beef up your new year’s resolution to get fit, and it’s a wonderful way to give back. For charity marathons, your entry fees go to a good cause. For some, you can look for donations from people that will also go toward donations to those in need.

Not a runner? No rule says you have to run. There are plenty of folks who walk in a marathon, even if everyone else is running.

April: Give Back to Nature in Celebration of Earth Day

Earth Day may only happen one day of the month, but why not dedicate some time to doing a good deed for the Earth each week in April. There are so many wonderful things you can do, from planting trees to picking up trash. Need some inspiration? Check out our article on the topic here.

May: Embrace the Youth of the World

May is Foster Care Month, but not everyone has the time to foster a child. If that is something you’ve been considering, there’s no better time than now. However, there are many other great things you can do for the youth of the world.

Here is a list of some possible volunteer opportunities you can do if fostering isn’t for you:

  • Become a coach or helper for extracurricular school clubs, like sports teams.
  • Volunteer at your church for faith-based youth groups.
  • Talk to your local library about volunteering to read during storytime (many are doing virtual storytimes as well).
  • Become a mentor.
  • Offer to babysit for a friend so they can spend some time alone.
  • Donate to charities that revolve around helping children in need, like Ronald McDonald House.

June: Get Fit and Participate in Charity Walks

A group of people participating in an Alzheimer's charity walk.
Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Marathons not your speed? Don’t worry. Charity walks are the kinder-gentler version of moving from point A to point B while raising money for organizations in need. Typically charity walks start spooling up in spring and continue through the summer. June is a great time to participate in various walks (and start planning for walks that occur later in the year).

This is a great month to pick out some walks, make a few donations to the organizations you’re supporting—whether you’re walking this month or later in the year—and get invested in the cause. There’s more to just the walks than showing up, fundraising and awareness start months in advance. For example, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s is typically held in October every year but they need volunteers and local teams in place well in advance of that date.

July: Donate Your Locks

Getting your hair cut for the summer? Consider donating your locks. A few different charities take hair donations, but you’ll want to reach out and find out what their needs are, if they’re currently accepting donations, and how long your hair is required to be for donation.

For more information about charities that accept hair donations, and which ones are above board, check out this list.

August: Raise Money by Selling Stuff You Don’t Need

A great way to donate to good causes is to get rid of the stuff you no longer need. You can do this in multiple ways.

If you enjoy hosting rummage sales, you can sell your stuff and donate the money to a charity. Work it out ahead of time with the charity you plan to give the money to, and you’ll be able to advertise your sale as a fundraiser. You can also keep an eye out for charities looking for donations for their own rummage sales, including churches.

If you want your stuff gone and don’t have any luck finding a fundraiser to donate it to, consider dropping your no-longer-needed items off at a local charitable thrift store. You can even get a donation receipt to use for tax time discounts.

September: Help End Hunger

September is Hunger Action Month. You can give back to those in need of a good meal in many ways, from donating to or volunteering at a local food bank to donating to a specific charity.

Before you donate food items to a local food bank, contact them to see what they need. Often, money is the better choice because they can do more with each dollar than you could.

October: Celebrate Adopt-a-Pet Month

October is Adopt-a-Pet month, and many shelters offer deals on adoptions at this time. If you’ve been considering adding a pet to your home, this is a great time to start looking around for the right new, furry family member. Not only do you get a fuzzy companion, but you change the life of a shelter animal.

If you don’t have space, time, or money to put into pet ownership, you can still help out. Shelters are often looking for donations of things like old blankets and pillows, and cash is always a welcome donation as it offsets the cost of all the vaccinations, surgeries, and other expenses the shelter incurs.

November: Help the Homeless

November is Homeless Awareness Month. While people in denser urban areas are more likely to directly see homeless individuals, housing instability is a threat to millions of people in and not just those that fit into the traditional guy-holding-sign trope.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to help to donate to local homeless shelters near where you live. While donations of clothing and toiletries are welcome—simple things like bar soap, socks, and such are in perpetual need—do contact your local organization. Like food pantries, they may have arrangements with local and national businesses where they can buy far more clothing, toiletries, and such per dollar than you could if you went and shopped at the same store.

For more ideas on how you can help the homeless in your area, check out this list.

December: Toys for Toys and Coats for Kids

The cold chill of December fills the air, and Christmas is just around the corner; it’s time to think of the needs of people who can’t afford things like toys and new coats. One Warm Coat has information on how to find charities to donate coats and hats. Many stores will have donation bins set up for donating new toys during holiday shopping times, and you can also visit the Toys For Tots website.

Whether you walk or run, donate time or money, or otherwise find ways to help in your local community, there are so many opportunities throughout the year to give back.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow is a professional writer with two decades of experience. She has written and edited for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and more. Yvonne is a published poet and short story writer, and she is a life coach. Read Full Bio »
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