HEART OF THE VALLEY: How You Can Contribute to Local Charities


By: Katie Cook – 4-24

“If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in the dark with a mosquito” Betty Reese joked.

You may think that you are only one person and that you don’t have the power or the money to make a big difference in the world.

You probably think you don’t have the time or any expert knowledge, but the truth is you do! You have the power to change the lives of others in our community and by doing so you might find you are making a positive change in yourself along the way.

Helping local civic organizations or non-profits in the Merrimack Valley is a great way to make a positive impact in the community, especially if you are helping a cause you have a passion for.

So how can you pitch in, in a meaningful way that will make a difference?

The obvious way to help is to find a local organization or fundraising effort and make a financial donation. Or you can donate food and clothing items to a group helping the homeless or those struggling in our area. If everyone gives just a little, a lot will build quickly and change the lives of the individuals who need it in ways you will never really know. Just last week I ran a scratch ticket basket raffle fundraiser for a local children’s fund.

Tickets were only $5, and I was able to collect $1,000 in only 24 hours.

Asking your company to sponsor an event for your favorite charity is also a great way to get local corporations involved in giving back to their community and putting needed dollars back into our community in ways that help those who need it.

If you don’t have extra cash to spare right now, that’s ok. There are even other ways you can contribute that will make someone’s life a little better.

Volunteering your time is always a great option.

You can volunteer with a local civic organization, help out at a charity event and attend fundraisers. If you have any special talents or skills that you are willing to share, like website design or accounting abilities, many organizations are looking for people just like you to help them service people who are less fortunate.

One of the easiest ways to contribute is by engaging with a local civic organization on social media, sharing their posts, and tagging a friend who might also be interested in their mission, especially when they are raising money for scholarships, the homeless, youth sports, or senior citizen activities. While on their social media pages, be sure to give them a positive review so others know they are a good place to donate to and share your personal experiences.

Spreading the word about a local organization also helps spread awareness about their mission and fundraising events, which can help non-profits grow and help more people. Making a personal introduction for a friend or a coworker to the organization is another amazing way to help them out.

With so many local non-profits out there, it can be hard to know which ones are trustworthy enough to contribute your time and resources to.

Charity Navigator is one tool I have used in the past. They rate non-profits on Impact & Measurement, Accountability & Finance, Leadership & Adaptability and Culture & Community.

I found it focuses on larger, regional, and nationwide charities so I was not finding out as much information about local charities.

Personally, when I donate, I want to know my time and resources are going directly into MY community, the Merrimack Valley. I want to help my neighbors and friends with their missions so that the people who live here can get some of the help they need to make their lives better. That makes the entire community a better place to be.

So, how do you learn more about local charities and find one that fits your passion and interests??
Read my newest column in the Valley Patriot every month called Heart of the Valley this summer!

Thanks to the Valley Patriot, I will be highlighting a civic organization or non-profit in the Merrimack Valley every month. Organizations and groups that that work in our community to improve the lives of our neighbors.

Since I don’t know about every group here in the Valley, I want to invite you all to email me at HeartOfTheValley978@gmail.com with information about your organization, a summary about how you help the community and how much of the money donated goes directly to those in need as well as a good contact person to possibly be interviewed.

I am looking forward to learning about all the organizations and all the amazing work happening in the Merrimack Valley.◊