With the Holidays approaching, people are starting to think about giving to charity.

You’d like to give but how do you go about raising money for charity? Should you hold a bake sale? Pledge to a toy drive? Raise money online? Here are six tips on how you can make a difference in your community by raising money for charitable causes.

1)    Find the right charity: It’s important to find the right charity because the organization should be one that you are passionate about. Don’t just give to a “good cause,” commit to supporting a group that inspires you! Websites like charitynavigator.org and charitywatch.org can help guide you towards a non-profit that serves the community in a transparent and honest way.

2)    Simply ask: Many established charities have a giving program or volunteer roles that have already been created where you can serve. Ask about volunteer fundraising opportunities and soon, you’ll have more ideas than you know what to do with! If none of those options appeals to you, you can always choose your own method. In fact, it was Dr. Gordy Klatt’s own efforts that raised over $27,000 to fight cancer and started a movement called “Relay for Life,” which became the biggest fundraiser in the world!

3)    Make it personal: Once you find the right organization, it’s important to make your fundraising efforts personal. The most effective way to raise money isn’t hosting a large gala: it comes down to asking your family and friends. People respond to stories when they have an emotional connection. Don’t just talk about cancer being a leading cause of death – talk about your personal connection. In other words, touch the heart before you ask for a hand. But whatever you do, add your own personal touch and make the effort personal.

4)    Reach them where they are: You want to use tools that people can connect with. Don’t send an email to your friend if they never check it. Sometimes they need a handwritten note; sometimes it’s a post on Facebook. Give people tools that they are comfortable with and make it easy for them to give. Whatever the message is, make it brief and meaningful (especially if it is email).

5)    Ask for their help: Don’t just ask loved ones for a donation, ask them to take the extra step by sharing the message with five friends or post on their social media accounts. Build a small army. Even if someone can’t give money to your cause, chances are, they’d be willing to post the link on their social media sites or forward the message onto someone who can.

6)    Get some professional help: Does your employer offer a benefit system where they’ll match your charitable donations? That’s an easy way to double your gift right away. Do you know some local businesses that could use some good publicity, perhaps a place that you frequent or someone in your network? You’ll be surprised how generous local businesses can be, especially when it means that they can partner up with a cause that they can believe in.

Remember, you don’t have to be a professional fundraiser to make a difference in your community. As Helen Keller once famously said, “The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of tiny pushes of each honest worker.” If you are passionate about a cause and want to make a difference, there are a number of ways to get involved. Don’t be intimidated, many organizations are extremely grateful for the help and will support your efforts by providing you with some best practices, helpful tips, and encouragement along the way.

Featured photo credit: Money coming to the bowl via Shutterstock

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