In today’s world, technology and travel make it easier than ever to explore the globe. They also make it easier to give on an international level and make a difference around the world.
In addition to making donations to causes you care about, you can also give your time to make a worldwide impact–sometimes without ever leaving your neighborhood.
Each year, Giving Tuesday is celebrated on the first Tuesday in December, after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It kicks off the charitable giving season when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year donating. This article is the fourth (here’s the first, second, & third) in a series published on the Tuesdays leading up to Tuesday, December 3rd, to share a variety of ways you can give this year.
Ways to Give on an International Level
One of the most impactful ways to give on an international level is to choose a cause or issue that matters to you and to support it financially. The options are virtually limitless, but to help you start, we’ve zeroed in on some causes generating a lot of discussions lately.
Water is a basic human necessity most of us take for granted. Imagine a life without running water — it impacts everything from cooking to cleaning, in addition to survival. Yet, Water.org estimates 1 in 9 people do not have access to clean water and 1 in 3 people do not have access to a toilet.
Water.org is just one of many organizations looking to bridge the gap in meeting this most basic need for people around the world. A four-star charity on Charity Navigator, Water.org accepts donations they then direct around the world to regions needing clean water.
Given as affordable financing, usually through small loans, the money allows people to install taps and toilets.
By focusing on long-term solutions, as well as education, Water.org looks to make a lasting impact. According to the organization, donations have helped 25 million people gain access to safe water and sanitation systems.
Agriculture has a powerful impact on food sources and economic markets around the globe. The World Bank estimates 64% of 770 million people living in extreme poverty work in agriculture. That means farmers around the world are struggling.
One Acre Fund is one way your giving can make an international difference. By donating, One Acre is able to provide funding and training to smallholder farmers in six countries in East Africa.
The team helps farmers ensure their harvests are plentiful and that their farming practices are what is best for the farmers themselves and the environment.
Another option to help farmers internationally is through organizations like Heifer International. This group aims to change the way we look at giving gifts.
Donors still select from a gift catalog, but these are not your typical purchases. Using Heifer International's catalog, you purchase items like a flock of chicks or a share of a goat.
Gifts can be given on behalf of someone else, which is perfect for everyone from grandchildren to friends. The donations are then given to farmers and business owners in 21 countries around the world, who are then trained in sustainable agriculture techniques.
According to UNESCO, 1 out of 5 school-age children is not attending school. Without access to quality education, children and teens face a difficult life ahead. Everything from employment opportunities to earnings is jeopardized.
Fortunately, there are many organizations working to increase access to education worldwide.
The Global Partnership for Education focuses on regions around the world impacted by conflict and other issues. By prioritizing the most vulnerable people, this organization aims to help more children receive a basic quality education. Local governments lead the way in terms of planning and delivery, while GPE supports their work with talent and resources.
Educando by Worldfund is another group focusing specifically on schools throughout Latin America. They aim to provide support and training to ensure schools are run by quality administrators and educators. As the caliber of each community’s school grows, the effects can ripple for generations.
Online Loans and Cash Transfers
Recently, platforms like Kiva and GiveDirectly have changed the way people can make financial donations. By making online loans and cash transfers to individuals and small businesses, donors can feel more connected to the individuals they are helping even if they are spread out across countries or continents.
Kiva pools money from lenders and creates loans for people around the world. These entrepreneurs use the loans to support business ideas, which means you are helping to invest in communities and families.
Kiva allows you to search for a variety of loans, including short-term and long-term loans. Plus, you can filter and sort by region or category. There is currently a 96.8% repayment rate on loans, which means there's a good chance you will be able to lend money over and over again.
GiveDirectly allows people to make cash donations to people living in extreme poverty. The organization identifies and audits people living in extreme poverty, transfers money to them, and then verifies the funds are received.
GiveDirectly prides itself on the extensive research that backs their giving model. Independent controlled trials show that for every $1,000 donated, there is a $270 increase in earning and a $430 increase in assets.
Volunteering abroad, also known as voluntourism, is rapidly growing in popularity. The idea is that people can see the world and experience other cultures, while also giving time to international communities in need. However, like any kind of giving, voluntourism requires your due diligence.
As quickly as voluntourism is growing, so has the criticism of the movement.
Like any time you are traveling abroad, you want to make sure you do your research so you have a basic understanding of everything from weather to political climate and other travel advisories.
Exploring these things in advance will make the travel portion of voluntourism smoother. Additionally, as someone volunteering abroad, it’s important to remember you want to know the details of the community you are helping and the history of the organization you are working with.
You want to ensure you're doing the most good possible without exploiting any population or having your time or dollars misused. Working with a reputable organization such as Global Volunteers or Global Vision International can help.
Local Opportunities to Give Globally
A common question people have when it comes to donating time or money is, “How do I know my donation is really going to have an impact?”
One way you can get an answer firsthand is to explore local opportunities to help globally.
Another benefit of researching local opportunities to make an international impact is that you don’t have to coordinate the travel logistics and scheduling, but you can still use your time and talents to benefit people around the globe.
Nearby Collections with a Big Reach
You may be able to make a personal donation to a blood bank that delivers aid internationally after a natural disaster or emergency. Moreover, you might participate locally in a neighborhood walk or run for a cause that has a global reach.
There are also many religious organizations that need sweat equity for local tasks that benefit places around the world.
Feed My Starving Children
Feed My Starving Children is one example of a way to give your time locally to make an impact around the globe. FMSC needs volunteers to pack nutrient-rich meals that can be shipped to people facing starvation.
Individuals, companies, and even groups celebrating birthdays can team up to hand-pack these life-saving meals. Depending on where you live in the United States, you may have a permanent Feed My Starving Children location nearby or you may need to wait until a MobilePack event arrives.
H2O for Life
Schools around the country are teaming up to raise awareness and funds to combat the global water crisis. H2O for Life has partnered with students, teachers, and communities to complete almost 1,000 clean water initiatives.
By coupling fundraising and project-based learning, students are able to engage with the problem and help provide a solution.
These are only some ways of donating your time or money to a local event that can have a far-reaching impact. To find other opportunities, you might work with volunteer organizations like All For Good or research a cause or interest that is important to you on Charity Navigator.
Final Thoughts on International Giving
Giving on an international level isn’t only reserved for people who have time to travel the globe. Though you certainly can participate in voluntourism, there are many opportunities to support global causes right from your own home.
Perhaps it’s participating in a community event that gives back on a broader scale. Or maybe it’s simply using a tool like Charity Navigator to research a cause that means something to you.
As a result of modern technology, it’s never been simpler to see and feel the global impact from your giving.
Article written by Penny