Neighborhood Gazette

The official WorkerAnts’ Colony

News, events and fireside chats with Ergon.
Ergon Ant

What do you think of when you picture a philanthropist? Is it someone self -sacrificing like Mother Teresa, or generous benefactors like Bill and Melinda Gates? Perhaps you know someone in your community who selflessly gives of their time at the local shelter or is a foster parent. But do you think of yourself? You should. All of us are capable of being philanthropists. It does not matter if you are working insane hours, staying at home with kids, being a senior caregiver or dealing with a myriad of other life situations. Life can get hectic for all of us but being philanthropic is an attitude. Everyone struggles with different limitations, some don’t have a lot of time, some don’t have any spare money, but we can all practice philanthropy in different ways. We would like to offer a few thoughts with the hope one will spark your imagination and get you thinking about how you can give back.

1) You are too busy to donate time but you have a little extra money.
Take 10 minutes during a lunch break to donate to your favorite cause. Don’t have a favorite cause? Then are we the site for you! You can search through thousands of charitable organizations around the world to find one that appeals to you. You can also find lists of great charitable watchdog sites in our Resources section so that you can do extra research on how, and to whom, to donate money. Also, consider finding time by using your vacation as an opportunity to give back. Take an eco-friendly vacation. There are organizations that specialize in planning volunteer vacation trips, check some of these organizations out here. Finally, you can also use our nifty map and see if there are any non-profits in the area you are visiting that would let you come by for just an hour or two. Imagine the possibilities!

2) You are too busy to donate time and have no extra money.
How about piggybacking a good deed? Do something that is good for you and good for the world. For instance, do you drive your kids to school? See if someone in your neighborhood is also having trouble juggling work and kids. Then volunteer to drive their kids to school or see if you can set up a carpool system. If you alternate days of the week you are helping yourself and them, plus it helps the environment. It’s a win-win for no extra money and no extra time. Know another thing you can do? Do a little research and see if you can switch your shopping choices to fair trade goods, cruelty free merchandise, or clothes from vendors who promise to pay a living wage to their workers. It is something you would have purchased anyway, but by being wise in your choices you are making a big difference to others. For a starting point, check out our links to Humane Shopping Lists here.

3) You have extra time but don’t know what you want to do.
Look around the Colony search pages to find a topic that interests you. Each Colony has the ability to link to organizations they “Dig” and the Colony’s particip’ant’s may have some good suggestions for you. You also can find a non-profit on our organization search pages- search by key word, category or location. Once you get started searching, browse through the “Organizations that You Might Dig” on the lower right side of the page. There are thousands of organizations listed on and we know there is one out there that would love your help.

4) You want to volunteer but cannot for reasons not listed above.
Write reviews for organizations you support. A good, honest review of a charity can raise awareness of the organization and help other people when they are looking for charities to support. Use the “Tell A Neighbor” button on the organization pages to raise awareness of cool non-profits that you come across on the site. Start a Colony for a cause you are passionate about and create a space where, thanks to you, people can come to learn about the cause, collaborate and work together to achieve amazing things.

These are a few suggestions, but really, there are many ways to practice philanthropy. Look around, connect with others, and expand your horizons. You might be amazed at how much you can do.

6 years ago
Nancy Cristler
This is such a great "ideas" list! I think we all tend to, at first glance, to see philanthropy in grand gesture terms, but it is truly being available at the right time in whatever capacity. If we can learn to notice opportunities to help others and reach out, that effort builds and becomes a way of life that will enrich others. Thanks for the inspiration!
02 Oct 2014 - 12:10