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I will try to create more happiness and less unhappiness in the world around me

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Action 15

Make something happen for a good cause

Giving is great - all round. And so is connecting with others. They are both real happiness boosters. So if you've got an idea or a knack for organising, why not make something happen for a good cause and get a real double whammy for happiness!

Why do it?

Connecting with others is at the heart of human happiness and so is doing things to help others. While giving money to good causes is great and important to do, what we can bring in terms of energy and time is often more important than what we can give financially ourselves. Making something happen for a good cause is good for us too - we can use our strengths, build our competence and boost our positive emotions.

Fundraising can be fantastic fun, involving your friends, family, colleagues, neighbours in activities, entertainment, sports and more and so it can be good for others as well as ourselves. Providing them with an opportunity for giving, connecting and having fun. What's more it can be great for our local communities as a way of bringing people together.

And of course, most importantly of all, it's great for thecharities we help and the causes they serve. Charities depend on donations to do their work and so using our time and talents to raise money, helps them to help others. Through the support of community fundraisers, charities can reach more people and make a bigger difference to people who need extra care.

Where to start

1. Choose a cause

Ideally choose something that you feel passionate about. Charities all have a specific purpose and focus and it's important to find one that you really believe in. Some ideas to get you started:

  • Health issues (e.g. cancer, heart disease or mental health)
  • Social issues (e.g. poverty, homelessness or human rights)
  • Environmentalissues (e.g. climate change, endangered species or pollution)
  • Disadvantaged groups (e.g. children, older people, refugees or young people)
  • Local issues (e.g. a school, hospital, community group or local campaign)

Perhaps you've got a cause you care about but are not sure which charity to support? Have a look at the Guidestar website - a comprehensive database of all the registered charities in the UK to find organisations which match your interests

If you want more detail on your chosen charity, then visit the Charity Commission website (for charities in England and Wales) or the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (for charities in Scotland). These are the formal regulatory bodies for all registered charities and you can find out more detail about every charity in the country here.

You can contact any charities you're interested in and ask them for information about what they do - they will be delighted to hear that you're thinking of supporting them and will gladly answer your questions.

2. Talk to friends and family

Speak to your friends and family- They might also care about your chosen cause and want to get involved. Having a group of you will mean more ideas, more time, and more resources to make it happen. Remember, many hands make light work (and builds relationships too)!

3. Get connected

Once you've decided which charity you want to fundraise for, let them know. Charities will be delighted you have chosen to help them and will be very happy to provide support. Some may have existing campaigns that you can get involved with, some will have sponsored events that you can take part in, and many will even have fundraising packs to help you organise your own event. It's also important to let them know what you're planning to do and ask permission before you use their name.

4. Decide on an activity

Choose an activity or event that you want to organise. The sky's the limit and don't be afraid to get creative. Here are some ideas:

  • Do something new, challenging or even slightly embarrassing and ask friends and colleagues to sponsor you. This could include anything from doing a bungee jump or growing a moustache, to running a marathon or sitting in a bath of beans.
  • Throw a party. Invite friends round for a karaoke night, dinner party, wii tournament, wine tasting, movie night or any other sort of entertainment, and ask them for a donation
  • Get active and organise a sports tournament with an entry fee to take part
  • Run a jumble sale stall, a boot fair or garage sale and give the proceeds to your chosen cause
  • Organise a charity auction with donated gifts from local businesses
  • Get busy in the kitchen and sell your cakes, sweets and snacks at a local fete or coffee morning

There are some other ideas are here:

5. Get planning

Once you've chosen your charity and an event or activity, it's time to get busy. Get your plans together:

  • Set yourself a date (work out how much time you will need to get things set up, tell people about it and raise money)
  • Organise any materials or locations that you will need.
  • How you will spreading.

Don't forget to keep your chosen charity informed of your plans - they may be able to help you with materials and advice.

6. Ask people for money to support your cause

It may seem obvious but it's crucial to tell people how much you want and how it's going to make a difference. You may be asking them to donate, or you may be giving them something in return. Either way, do make sure they know how their money will help others.

Note: There are some rules and regulations about handling money so do seek advice from your chosen charity before you get to this stage. One very easy way to manage the money you raise is through websites like Just Giving, Bmycharity or Everyclick. It is quick and easy and makes it very simple for people to donate, and takes the paperwork and money-counting off your hands.

7. Enjoy it!

Try to remember to enjoy it - not only might you be having fun with friends, colleagues or neighbours, or meeting new ones; you'll also be raising money that will make a big difference to a good cause so you deserve to feel proud and satisfied!

Resources

  • Free access to information on all charities registered in England and Wales

  • Celebrates and supports people who fundraise for charitable causes

  • Professional membership body to support fundraisers in the UK

click to view

Giving is good for you

When we give to others it activates the areas of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection and trust.

Altruistic behaviour releases endorphins in the brain and boosts happiness for us as well as the people we help. Studies have shown that giving money away tends to make people happier than spending it on themselves.

The Kindness Offensive

London

Group performing big, inspiring acts of kindness

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