Work out what they need first!
It’s unlikely charities are going to say no to money; having said that, they can also be in desperate need of goods or services from volunteers. Finding out what they want first saves them the admin and the additional cost of having to source it themselves.
Let’s say you want to help Battersea Dogs Home. First, you need to find out what they are currently accepting. Check their website or get in touch and see if they have a wish list. They might need leads, treats and dog bowls, but maybe they don’t! Perhaps they already have too much of this stuff and would have nowhere to store anything you gave them anyway.
Some charities also may have specific guidelines or restrictions on what they are allowed to accept, so it’s crucial to respect those guidelines. A recipient of a recent CSR event we hosted was the homeless charity Shelter. They are often helping abused women, some of whom have had to leave the house with just the clothes on their backs. After contacting the charity, we were advised that hampers containing female hygiene products would be helpful to them. People can also arrive with babies, so they said they always need nappies and wipes.
Another event we do regularly is Build a Bike. This has a phenomenal response from companies because not only is it fun, but you have something tangible to give to someone at the end. It can be difficult, though, to find a charity that needs 60 bikes in one hit. So, make sure you’ve done your research first if you really want to make a difference (and let us know if anyone needs a bike).