Charities and volunteering - How do you choose? | The Life of K: Charities and volunteering - How do you choose?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Charities and volunteering - How do you choose?

These questions have been floating around my head for a long time: How do you pick what charity to donate to? And how do you narrow it down from all the worthy causes out there?

When I started with the government I was tasked with collecting forms for the United Way campaign. Have you seen the list of charities the United Way supports? How is it possible to pick which ones your money goes towards? It isn't.

Like so many things, I find that having too many options is paralyzing.

Up until now I've been donating here and there, to friends raising money for causes, or charities connected to races I've participated in. I'm not sure that's the best approach but when I can't pick, is it better to spread the love? I just don't know.

Do you have a cause that is near your heart? How did you pick it? Or are you like me, fumbling your way, giving here and there?

The same goes for volunteering though I finally found something that I want to do: provide birth doula services to people who can't afford them. This is different from doing free births. As a doula, I value my time, and even though I struggle to charge what I'm worth (based on my training and experience), I do charge. Mothercraft Ottawa has a Birth Companion Program and I am doing training right now so I can be a Birth Companion. It's exactly what I'm looking for: providing doula services to women in Ottawa who need it. These women are often new to Canada or have no one supporting them. It's a good fit for me.

Hopefully I'll figure out a charity that's a good fit too.

NaBloPoMo November 2014


  1. Great topic for a post! And I might steal it and do my own so I don't hijack your comment section. For volunteering - now that life is busy with kids, I just focus on one volunteer activity where I think I actually make a difference and have something specific to contribute. They also know how to appreciate and treat volunteers (which also matters to me). So I volunteer for the Carleton Alumni Association.

    For donating I focus on a few that are close to my heart. I also think in about a year - once my eldest is old enough to really "get it" we'll probably sponsor a child through one of those programs like Christian Children's Fund - because I think it would be a good activity to do as a family to teach my kids about being caring members of the global community.

    The birth doula volunteering sounds like an amazing opportunity! Good luck with your choices here! - Louise

  2. I used to let my kids pick our charities, but they only ever wanted to support the world wildlife fund, because you get a free stuffed animal with your donation (well played, WWF). Now I still talk about it with them, but I limit their selection to local charities. I know people elsewhere are struggling but I like the feeling of helping people right here in Ottawa, so we often give to the food bank or the mission downtown.