- Use your normal activities to help raise money: There are often promotions where money goes towards an organization just for buying a certain thing at that time that you would have bought anyway. Here's a GREAT example of doing what you'd normally do and helping others... This week is Share our Strength's Great American Dine Out. There are a TON of Atlanta restaurants who have committed to donate money during the week of Sept 20-26 (THIS WEEK) to Share our Strength, which fights childhood hunger in the US. Go to their website to find restaurants near you and be sure to ask the restaurant how they're participating to see if there's a set menu or item you need to order, if it's just a blanket donation they're making of their sales this week, etc.
- Go to charity events to network: People always say it's "who you know" that gets you new jobs, promotions, new clients, etc... so get out there and meet important people. A weeknight charity event with an auction, open bar & food, is a great place to meet high-up folks! This Thursday, September 24th, 21st Century Leaders -a youth leadership development organization- is having an event called the Fete at the Foundry. At the event, Atlanta's 40 under 40 (as named by the Atlanta Business Chronicle) are announcing this year's 20 under 20... so that means that the $35 ticket price gets you shoulder to shoulder with a TON of important folks that the ABC thought were the best of the best, all while supporting impressive young leaders, plus enjoying the usual food, drinks, music & auction. Awesome! Bonus: if you can't make the event, they're also raffling off a vespa & a MacBook Pro, so you can make a straight $20 donation, but it comes with a chance to win something really cool.
- Make your fun social activity one that help a cause: My great example of this is all day beer & music festivals that also benefit charities like the upcoming HOToberfest on October 3, 2009 at Glenwood Park. Seriously, $30 gets you in the beer garten to sample 110 beers from around the world AND the event is focused around sustainability and care of the Earth, so funds raised go to great earth-friendly organizations like Trees Altanta & Upper Chatahoochee Riverkeeper. For as much as you'd spend at a bar that night, you get an all afternoon activity that helps great causes and help educate you on things you can do to enjoy the Earth and good beer! That's happiness pie.
- Jump in to help!: I love me a charity gala with floor length dresses, huge auctions, dancing, good food & free drinks... but even with a lot of coupon using, I cannot easily justify $150+ a ticket. The FrugalFab solution is to volunteer! Find an organization you like and an event that is super fru-fru and tell them you'd like to help. Be ready to put in the time- usually greeting people for at least the first hour or helping with the auction & check out during the last hour. Most organizations will let you be a normal guest during the times you're not set to help, which means like half the time, you're partying on someone else's dime and you don't have to feel guilty because your manpower helped the event be successful and raise money for the cause!
I'll continue to highlight nonprofit charity events that I think are a great way to put your money to good use!