How Can You Support Your Favourite Charity?

Charities make an enormous contribution to the quality of life across a variety of sectors, helping many different people. According to the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, there are more than 24,000 registered charities in Scotland alone, and they come in all shapes and sizes.

Estimates suggest that more than £10 billion per year is generated in this sector, with approximately 183,000 people in Scotland acting as charity trustees, in addition to the paid staff and volunteers. There are many worthy causes calling for attention from members of the public, so what steps can be taken to provide effective support that will make a real difference to those who benefit from charitable help?

Here are a few ideas of some schemes available…

Making connections

In addition to the larger charities that focus on major issues, such as cancer research or dementia, at national level, there are many smaller charities involved in the same topics, often at regional or local level. Every person has, in some way, a connection to issues covered by charity. In addition to health, there are Scottish charities working in support of animal welfare, promoting greener energy use, supporting carers, encouraging music and the arts, and assisting members of the armed forces. These are just a few of the charitable causes being embraced in the UK today.

Raising funds is extremely important to charities and often the most difficult part of their remit. However, nowadays, there are lots of ways in which individuals and families can participate to make a valuable contribution.

How to help

In addition to making one-off or regular financial donations, charities can be helped through volunteering – when people give their time to offer practical help. Sometimes, this is through working in a charity shop, undertaking a service to help homeless people, or doing some useful admin in the charity office. As well as volunteering, those with the right skills have the option to work for charities as paid employees, contributing to decision-making and strategic development.

Events and activities are also popular, from a quiz night, to a sponsored bike ride or swim. The desire to show solidarity with good causes has resulted in regular distributions of poppies, daffodils and commemorative medals or coins, such as those issued by the Royal Air Forces Association. The association works in support of RAF personnel, and the commemorative coins were designed and funded by The London Mint Office.

Worcestershire Medal Service manufactured the London Mint Office coins, which were issued in honour of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. In all, 250,000 medals have been made available free, limited to one per household. This helps to raise awareness of the UK’s indebtedness to the RAF personnel who fought in the war and the ground staff who supported them.

Getting started

Searching online is a useful way to identify local charities. There are some sites that allow searches to be filtered by geographical area, specific interest and whether or not there is an opportunity to volunteer. One of these is the not-for-profit social enterprise Localgiving, which specialises in helping community groups and small local charities to fundraise.

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