29 March 2009

Making Doing Something for Charity a Little Easier

Photo courtesy PDPhoto.org

For a long time I have supported charities financially, but at some point I started wanting more. As noble as it is, I did not find giving money very fulfilling. Yes, I could've given more but I didn't think that that was going to allow me to bear witness to the fruits of my labours. I was willing to give up something far more precious - my time - in exchange for feeling a part of making a difference in some-one's life. Once I'd made that decision, the question was how do I go about finding a charity that I believed in and wanted to spend time working with. Funnily enough, that was a very difficult question to find an answer to. You would think that an accountant would be in immediate demand by a charity (even if just as a book keeper), but how to find "the perfect match"?

The first resource that I came across was a book called How to Help which lists around 60 projects in the Cape Town area (editions covering Durban and Johannesburg are also available), but none of these charities were looking for accountants. I then stumbled upon The Greater Good website which calls itself "first online social marketplace for people who want to make a difference" and matches charities who are looking for funding for specific projects or specific skills. Still no need for an accountant. It seemed to me that the charities were more interested in my money than they were me...

On moving to Singapore I was delighted to find The Kind Exchange and last week I went to a party to celebrate their 1st birthday. The call themselves an online ‘meeting place’ for matching volunteer professionals with community groups that need professional services. The concept around this is simple - to make it easier for busy professionals to find an organisation that needs their skills and to give the charities or community organisations an opportunity to find some-one to do the work. The site is based on the model in provided in Australia by GoodCompany. Currently, the irony of The Kind Exchange is that they have too many volunteers and not enough requests! But I'm sure that that will sort itself out shortly. The good news is that I am currently carrying out 2 kind deeds that I found on their site.

Do you have a similar resource in your country? If so, please tell us about it.

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