Is Volunteering or Donating More Helpful?

When it comes to charity, there’s little you could provide that wouldn’t help. Volunteering and donating are both beneficial, depending on which charity you’re trying to help. However, different causes are better supported by one or the other. Let’s look at how you can tell whether it’s more helpful to volunteer or donate.

Question 1: How notable is the charity?

Let’s start off with a question that may or may not narrow down your options. Notable charities, such as the American Red Cross, tend to have plenty of money and volunteers. However, if you’d like to help a large organization like that, it can be more beneficial to donate money. This money may not be immediately needed, but it can be stored away for future use. On the other hand, an abundance of volunteers isn’t really helpful until the need arises.

Things get a little more tricky when it comes to small, local charities. If you’re looking to get involved more in a community-driven cause, it’s a good idea to contact someone on the inside and ask what they need most. Or, you can move on to the following questions.

Question 2: Is it specialized?

Charities vary greatly, but some fall squarely into a specialized category. This can make it tricky for the average person to volunteer. For example, a legal organization would likely require its volunteers to have legal experience. Likewise, research teams would be made up of scientists who specialize in that area. If you have a special skill that you would like to share with the world, then absolutely consider volunteering for one of these charities. Otherwise, it’s better to donate to them and let the professionals do the work.

Question 3: Are they ramping up efforts?

When looking into a charity, you may notice that some have minimal volunteering opportunities unless there is a huge event that warrants the support. These charities often help out with disaster relief, or may support people in the community who are down on their luck. If you want to get involved in a charity like this, check and see if they need temporary volunteers. If not, you could always choose to donate and look to volunteer when the time comes.

Volunteering and donating are both positive things, and most charities will need both at one point or another. Use these questions as a starting point for determining the best way to support the cause you are passionate about.


Signs of a Shady Charity

All around the world, there are thousands of charities working toward helping those in need. While most charities have pure intentions, some are not so noble. When looking for a good charity to support, here are some red flags you should watch out for.

Poor Financial Records

Charities need to be on top of their finances, primarily for tax purposes, but also for transparency’s sake. For example, a charity that is deliberately attempting to hide its CEO’s salary is probably a no-go. A charity who also seems to have an excessive amount of money going toward things like marketing could also be iffy.

Low Effectiveness

Charities take some time to get off the ground, especially where the actual help is concerned. Yet, a charity that has been around for several years and has little to show for itself does not sound legitimate. Although you may not always be able to gauge how well a charity operates, ask some people within the organization and try to get a feeling for how effective they are.

Public Scandals

When an organization has a scandal, it should be an immediate red flag for anyone looking to join. Some scandals can be taken out of context, but it’s worth considering the public image it portrays. Would you want to be involved in a charity that had money stolen for private use? How about one with a history of exploitation of its workers? Most people would look down upon those organizations, so it’s crucial to make a wise decision about which charity to get involved with. Furthermore, you should look into the higher-ups at the charity to see if they have any negative press, as their guilt may also become yours by association.

“Too Good To Be True”

As a final thought, be careful of causes that seem too good to be true. If a charity is quick to answer every question with a perfect response and seems to be doing much more than it has the resources to do, you should remain cautious. Some charities may actually be scams looking to lure in people with good intentions.

When looking for a cause to support, don’t quickly jump into the first charity you hear about. Be intentional about your commitment, and do some research to find out just how reputable the organization is. If they appear to have red flags, do some further digging. You may just avoid a nightmare by choosing carefully.


Why Everyone Should Volunteer

Everyone should volunteer at least once in their life. There are so many benefits of volunteering that there’s no reason not to. However, some people are hesitant to do so, and others may not even know what they can gain from this kind of experience. Read on to find out what you can gain from helping others.

Sense of Purpose

When helping others, it’s hard to deny the sense of purpose that accompanies the acts of kindness. Seeing the good work you can do will help build up your self-esteem and can help provide a meaning for life. While volunteering is rarely a full-time gig, the few hours you can devote to a good cause will surely have a meaningful impact upon your life. This positivity can flow into other areas of your life, making you more grateful for everything you have. The confidence you’ll gain can also translate to confidence in the workplace and in your personal life, making volunteering a benefit for all areas of your life.

Community Engagement

Beyond the sense of purpose, there’s also a big boost in your ability to be engaged with your community. If you’re moving to a new area, getting involved in a charity is a great way to meet new people and learn more about your new hometown. However, even if you aren’t new to the area, volunteering can be a great way to find new experiences that you didn’t even know existed.

Resume Builder

As a more practical benefit, volunteering can help build up your resume and make you stand out against other job-hunters. It’s most beneficial to volunteer within your field, as it shows your commitment to that kind of work. Yet, any volunteering is better than none, so go for something that really interests you, as you’ll have less of a chance of burning out and quitting.


Volunteering doesn’t have to be a solo activity. You can easily find places where you can volunteer with friends, family, or coworkers. If you’re looking for a group activity that is outside the norm, suggest this idea to everyone. Chances are, at least a few people will be willing to look into options with you. Just make sure to bring a few neutral options that would interest many people and you may have an easy time choosing an option that works for everyone.

Volunteering is good for you in many ways, and these are only a few in a very large list. Consider joining an organization that gives back to the community, and you’ll see the benefits you also receive from helping others.


How to Start a Venture Capital Firm — Part 1

In Part 1 of this two-part series, we take a look at how to get started with building a Venture Capital Firm from the ground up.

All around the world, people want to become Venture Capitalists. This career path is not easy and requires a lot of time and effort, but it can be quite lucrative when done right. Read on to find out what steps you’ll have to take in order to start your own venture capital firm.

Gain Investing Experience

Being a Venture Capitalist is, at the simplest level, being a high-level investor. People can invest in companies with a few dollars, but VCs will be utilizing much more money than that. Before you can even dream of investing at the level of a VC, you must prove yourself as an investor on your own. It’s not a bad idea to first try out investing in the stock market, even though this isn’t the end goal, as you’ll learn a lot about business operations, financial reporting, and how to evaluate a business’s practices to determine whether it’s a sound investment.

After you have some experience on a smaller scale, you should begin looking into small, private companies you would like to invest in. Meet with the founders to learn more about the business and think about whether you believe the company will grow enough to be worth your investment. Keep in mind that many of these startups will need much larger investments, as they are getting off the ground and need capital upfront. If you are uncomfortable investing tens of thousands of dollars (if not much more), being a VC is not for you.

However, if you choose to go on, just know that this is the start of your investing. The company may succeed or fail, and either way, it will go on your track record. Once you have a solid portfolio of profitable business that has made you back most of your money, it’s time to move on to the next step.

Head over to Part 2 to finish reading about the process of starting a Venture Capital Firm.


How to Start a Venture Capital Firm — Part 2

In Part 2 of this series, we continue looking at the logistical aspects of opening a Venture Capital firm. For Part 1, click here.

Find a Limited Partner

In the world of VC firms, limited partners are exactly what the name implies. They’re people with a large chunk of money to invest, but who don’t want to get caught up in having meetings with founders, evaluating companies, and anything else that falls under operations. Unless you are very rich, you will most likely look to raise money by partnering with one or more limited partners.

You can do this in several ways, but by far the easiest in is to look at people in your network. You may have connections to people you didn’t even know, through friends-of-friends, social clubs, or even former coworkers. Do some digging and find a few people who are good candidates to contact, and then do so. You may not hear back from all of them, but over time, you should be able to partner with at least one other person.

Of course, all of this depends on the prior point. Your investment portfolio should make you look like an attractive partner, and if it doesn’t, you may have a difficult time securing funds. If this is the case, go back and continue trying to build a more positive portfolio.

Furthermore, it’s also crucial to have an investing strategy that sets you apart to partners. Many people will choose to invest in fields they’re interested in or have expertise in. If you don’t have a clear niche, look at your portfolio carefully and create a narrative around it. Just be aware that however you pitch yourself is the way you’ll need to continue investing in the future. Don’t go back on your pitch, as your partners may become upset and cause issues for you. After you’ve secured at least one partner, you can then move onto one of the more tedious steps.

Hire Professionals to Help With Legalities

There are legal professionals who specifically work with Venture Capitalists, as compliance with laws is essential. Make hiring these people a top priority, so you can avoid fines, jail time, and all of the headaches that go along with noncompliance. The longer you wait, the more danger you put yourself in, and the higher the probability is of you getting caught doing something illegal. If you take care of these legalities, you may even be able to continue along this path long enough for the final step.

Continue Growing Your Firm

Some VCs prefer to work on a smaller scale, and that’s fine. It is likely, though, that you’ll consider hiring more up-and-coming Venture Capitalists at some point. Think back to when you met with the limited partners and evaluate potential hires in the same way. Look for intelligent, analytical people who have a similar strategy to yours, or who may bring expertise that you do not have. Above all else, make sure you trust their instincts. Evaluating people in-depth is not overkill; it’s a smart business move.

In Summary

Starting a firm is not an easy feat, but it is possible to make it work. These steps will not guarantee success, but they can help guide your decisions along the way. If you are not comfortable with each of these steps, it’s probably wise to reconsider whether becoming a Venture Capitalist is right for you. Either way, be prepared for the risks that come with this field. You may just be one of the lucky people who make it work.


Ways to Help the Homeless

It’s hard to find someone who has never seen a homeless person in their area. Homelessness is very common all across the US, and yet, many people are unsure of how to help the situation. Rather than simply giving money, consider trying one of these methods for helping the homeless.


Some homeless people will refuse food, which confuses many people. However, it’s often done out of a desire to stay safe. Homeless people can’t always tell if the food has been tampered with, so it’s safer to find their own food. However, you can still buy a homeless person a meal — just ask them to accompany you to the restaurant or store. While this isn’t always possible, depending on the area, it’s an easy solution for people who live in developed areas.


Buying clothes for the homeless doesn’t always work out well. The clothes might not fit or might not be what they need. However, sometimes, a simple outfit can make a big difference. See if there is a thrift store nearby and ask if there is an article of clothing that they need. Just be cautious of buying anything too flashy, as that may make them a target.

Basic Necessities

Homeless people often have to choose whether they will eat or buy items for basic hygiene. Most of the time, food wins out. This provides a great opportunity for you to buy some items that will help them maintain their health and a presentable appearance. One commonly overlooked necessity is a first-aid kit. This small purchase could significantly help keep a homeless person safe from disease.

A Shower

Although most people take it for granted, it can be very difficult to find a place to clean off when you’re homeless. This is huge for people looking to get off of the streets, as it can be difficult to find a job when you haven’t showered in some time. As safety comes first, try to find a place they can go that isn’t your home. If you have a gym membership that allows you to bring a guest, that is a great option.


Finally, some homeless people just don’t have as much access to resources that could help them get back on their feet. Offering to get them in touch with organizations can open the door for them to make huge changes in their life.

Homelessness is a widespread problem, but there are ways we can support this subset of our community. Try these options next time you feel the urge to help, and you’ll make a huge difference in someone’s life.


How Philanthropy is Changing

When most people think of philanthropy, they likely think of millionaires writing checks to large organizations. However, philanthropy has become so much more than that. Let’s take a look at some of the ways people are philanthropic today.


Taking donations is still a large part of any charity, and thus, many people still do participate by donating. Despite donations being as old as charity itself, the methods for donating have changed significantly in the past 20 years or so. Previously, you could write a check, make a cash donation in person, or perhaps call a number to donate to a cause. Today, donations are rapidly moving to the digital landscape. Now, you can find charities that accept online payments directly from a card or from sites like PayPal. Some charities even take cryptocurrency! Furthermore, sites like Amazon have partnered with charities to give them a kickback whenever you shop.


Again, volunteering is not a new concept, but the way people are volunteering has changed tremendously over the years. One big change is with support helplines, for people who need help with mental illness, abuse, or a number of other problems. Organizations have recently popped up that recruit volunteers to help people in these situations. Additionally, there is a larger emphasis on helping people all over the world than there once was. As the world continues to grow smaller due to technology, we’ll see even bigger shifts toward helping people thousands of miles away.

Spreading Awareness

Social media may not be perfect, but it is great at spreading awareness for a good cause. In the past few years, people have mobilized on sites like Twitter to support those in need. As a result, there are tons of cases of people getting the help they need through social media, rather than traditional charities.

Localized Charity

Helping people in your area has also become easier with the advent of technology. It’s never been easier than it is today to start a charity that helps people in your neighborhood. Likewise, community-based projects that look to combat localized issues, such as poverty and education, have popped up everywhere.

Philanthropy is no longer simply writing a check to a big organization. Today, you’ll find tons of innovations that will help improve the effectiveness of philanthropy and will lead to better outcomes for people in need.