If you’re reading this, you’re probably looking for a way to help your community or a cause you’re passionate about even if you can’t help out financially. Luckily, nonprofits run off of a lot more than just donations. Financial contributions support a lot of what we and other nonprofits are able to achieve, and although they’re important, we would be nothing without our community of hard-working individuals who lend us their time and expertise when we need it. So, don’t worry about having deep pockets, because there are so many more ways that you can make a meaningful difference working with nonprofits.

Volunteer your time

We’re all familiar with volunteering – whether it be manual labor to help prepare for and set up an event, phone banking, leafleting, and even lobbying government officials, it can count as volunteer work and help nonprofits. Many people like to say that time is money, but when it comes to nonprofits, time is often even more important than money. Volunteers at nonprofit organizations can expect to spend their time helping out with fundraising events, assisting with administrative tasks, and participating in programs and services the nonprofit offers. Plus, when you volunteer for nonprofit organizations you gain a deeper understanding of the nonprofit’s mission and create relationships with those running the nonprofit. These individuals are likely to have similar values to you, so making friends is easy and an added bonus. Those who volunteer at nonprofit organizations like Pawsitively4Pink instantly become fast family members. Take a look at some tips for future volunteers here.

Single arm raises megaphone up against a partly cloudy sky, perhaps to help organize volunteers at a nonprofit organization's event or spread the word about the nonprofit's mission.Spread the word!

Another way to work with nonprofits without donating is by using your voice! By spreading the word about a nonprofit’s work and sharing information about the organization on social media or telling friends and family about the nonprofit’s mission, anyone is able to help raise awareness and generate support. Knowledge is power, and the more people who are aware of the nonprofit, the better. Think of all of the companies that pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a seconds-long ad, just to get their name and message out to the world! Visibility is what starts movements and keeps them going – individuals are truly capable of making a real difference via word of mouth and social media presence.

Provide goods and services

For many nonprofit organizations, their missions are based on providing goods and services to those in need. For example, food banks need a constant supply of different non-perishable food items, while animal shelters need pet supplies like food, collars, brushes, and animal-safe soaps. By organizing the collection and donation of different goods and services, you can help a nonprofit save money and stretch its resources further. Collecting goods might look like hosting a food drive at your company, a sporting event, or a local school. This type of support is especially helpful for smaller nonprofits that may not have a large budget for purchasing supplies. When many individuals donate a few items or a little bit of time, collectively they make a huge difference for the nonprofit and mission.

A lightbulb is lit with with warm light against the background of some sketches of graphs and tables in pen, perhaps a volunteer using their expert skillset to plan how to help a nonprofit or work with a nonprofit.Lend your skills and expertise

These days, nonprofit organizations have a lot of work to do to stand out, keep their supporters up to date, and keep making a difference in their communities and the world. They benefit from a variety of different skills and expertise of volunteers with specialized knowledge and experience. For example, if you have experience in marketing, you could offer to help a nonprofit with its social media campaigns. Or, if you have a legal background, you could provide pro bono legal advice to the nonprofit of your choice, as legal advice is often expensive. This way, nonprofits can spend more time organizing and focusing on achieving their goals effectively and efficiently. Check out more ways to provide your skills to increase a nonprofit’s visibility here.

Make time to attend events

Working with nonprofits doesn’t always look like work. Not only are they a great way to generate support and raise awareness, but events are also a fantastic way to have fun and meet people. Showing your support by attending events and spreading the word about the nonprofit’s mission encourages others to do the same. In addition to fundraising events, nonprofits also host educational or advocacy events that are open to the general public. At these types of events, you have the opportunity to learn more about the organization’s work and how to get involved in its mission, specifically.

A nonprofit’s success is never just all about cash flow! There are so many ways to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those served by nonprofits. As someone who runs a nonprofit, I can attest to the fact that every bit of support counts. We are endlessly grateful to our fantastic volunteers and donors, who at this point, are like family.

Before you search for how to start a nonprofit organization, check out nonprofits that already exist! If you are interested in supporting underserved, low-income women in the Michigan area, find out how to get involved here. Learn more about how we at Pawsitively4Pink make a difference here.