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50 Ideas to Do Good Year-Round (With and Without Opening Your Wallet!)

by Benevity, Inc

If you’re anything like us (and millions of other people who are motivated by their passion for purpose), you’re constantly thinking about all of the good you can do in your community and around the world. People are generally givers and think about giving back often—but what’s more interesting is that we’re only giving about half as much as we intend to.

So, what’s the key to engaging more people in giving back?

Making it personal and intentional.

More and more companies are understanding this concept and providing their people the time and technology needed to support the causes of their choice. This growing trend allows companies to amplify their people’s impact through donation matching, building small armies of volunteers and unifying their people around their shared passion for doing good.

Everyone is a little bit different. And when people find their preferred way of giving, it sure feels good. Here are 50 creative ways companies can engage more people (on their own terms!) and drive more impact through their Goodness programs. 

Be Present

1. Spend time with animals at your local shelter
There are so many animals out there just waiting for your love! Plus, spending time with animals can lower your stress levels.

2. Become a foster home for your local animal shelter
Take the Goodness one step further and foster one of your fuzzy friends until they find their fur-ever home. 

3. Sign up to be the eyes for a visually impaired person via video chat
Lend your eyes to help low-vision or blind people lead more independent lives with apps like Be My Eyes.

4. Fundraise by auctioning off your skills-based services
Have a skill that’s in demand, or one you’d like to improve? Auction them off to your co-workers or friends and donate the funds to a charity of your choice.

5. Become a Big Brother or Sister
Mentor youth and help them reach their potential through a one-on-one relationship. After all, time is one of the greatest gifts you can give! 

Lend a Hand

6. Volunteer a morning at your local food bank or soup kitchen
There’s nothing like a warm bowl of soup served with love. Help dish out food or prep meals to make someone’s day brighter (and warmer!).

7. Make sandwiches or bagged lunches to donate to a homeless shelter
Many hands make light work. If you’d like some company, gather friends, family or colleagues and make an assembly line!

8. Build hygiene or care kits with shampoo, toothbrushes, combs, etc. to donate to homeless shelters
You can start with some of the unused samples you have at home. Add extra items to your grocery list or check out the dollar store for these items, too.

9. Clean up a park
It’s as easy as bringing an extra bag with you!

10. Rake leaves, shovel snow or wash windows for your neighbor
Imagine the delight! You’re likely already doing these seasonal chores, so why not make your neighbor’s day brighter with a small gesture? 

Get Crafty

11. Send cards or packages to soldiers overseas (they’re happy to receive them all year)
Loneliness is a reality for many people; especially for those who are away from their loved ones while serving your country. Get started with organizations like Support our Troops, Adopt a Platoon or A Million Thanks.

12. Write letters to children at your local hospital
Spread hope, joy and magic to hospitalized children with a card full of uplifting messages!

13. Make cards or care packages for seniors in a nursing home
Seniors are often the most isolated demographic, and your card may be the only one they receive this year, so make it extra special! Check out organizations like DOROT or Seniors Secret Service.

14. Have a bake sale and give the funds to your favorite charity
Turn on your favorite tunes and head to the kitchen! If you have any extra treats left over, you can donate them or give them to friends and family.

15. Build a Little Free Library in your neighborhood
We’re willing to bet you have books sitting on your shelf that other people would love to read. Plus, if your neighbors start adding their books, you’ll have something new for your collection, too. Find more info here

16. Contribute to a community art mural
Channel your inner Picasso and use your skills to make your community that much more beautiful! It’s the gift that keeps on giving since people can enjoy your art year-round. 

17. Wrap donated presents
If you have a flair for curling ribbon and folding with precision, this volunteer experience is for you. It’s also a great way to up your wrapping game for the next time you give that perfect gift.

18. Send cards to refugees
Send a message of hope to refugees around the world to show them you stand in solidarity with them. Check out CARE or Any Refugee to get started.

Take Charge

19. Organize a blood drive with your neighbors or coworkers
Giving blood is a pretty big deal…you’re literally saving lives! It’s a quick process and you usually leave with a treat in hand.

20. Collect unused makeup, hygiene products or toiletries to donate to a women’s shelter
It can mean a lot to women working to get back on their feet or back into the workforce. You can also donate products directly to organizations like Beauty Bus that provides beauty services for seriously ill individuals and their caregivers.

21. Start an Employee Resource Group (ERG) at your company
Gather together with like-minded coworkers to make a difference and support causes you all care about.

22. Raise money for the food bank (money goes further than goods)
Ask around and see who’d like to donate, or work with your leadership team to see if you can make it a company-wide initiative. Those who donate can wear jeans to work on Fridays!

23. Organize a carpool group
Save our planet, save money and get to know your coworkers on a more personal level.

Make it a Group Effort

24. Host a knitting party to make scarves for people at the homeless shelter
Make chilly days a little warmer for those in your community that need it most. Want to send the warmth across the globe? You can also donate directly to Knit-a-square to support children in Africa.

25. Host a bingo night for seniors at the nursing home
Everyone loves playing games, so here’s a good deed where everyone wins!

26. Adopt a family with a group of friends
Support low-income families and help them get back on their feet. You can find programs like this through your local Salvation Army or organizations like Hope for Children.

27.    Put on a magic show at the Children’s Hospital
Bring joy and laughter to sick kids by showing off your best magic tricks!

28. Gather colleagues and collect “wish list” items for a local charity
Many local charities publish wish lists online. If you’re in doubt, try giving them a call. You can also support Make-A-Wish® on a local or international level.

Put Others First

29. Give to a friend’s favorite cause
Supporting a cause close to a friend’s heart shows that you care about what they care about! Plus, you’ll get to learn about a new cause.

30. If you have a dog, give to a cat foundation
Forget #teamdog or #teamcat and join #teamgive!

31. Donate your hair to a cancer charity
Donating your hair is a great way to support children and adults who have lost theirs due to cancer. Check out A Child’s Voice Foundation or Locks of Love.

32. Deliver gifts to kids in the hospital or donate stuffed animals
Spending time in the hospital is tough on everyone—especially children. Put a smile on their face by delivering a small gift to comfort them and make them feel loved!

33. Sponsor an animal in your friend’s name
Double the good feels! You’ll help an animal in need and honor a friend. You can get started with Best Friends Animal Society.

34. Take a first aid class so you can help in emergency situations
Have confidence knowing that you can take action when someone is injured. Plus, it’s a practical certification that can save lives!

35. Deliver holiday decorations to nursing homes or families in need
Is it really Valentine’s Day without chocolate and hearts!? For some, traditional holiday decorations or treats can make all the difference—especially when they might not be able to afford it.  

Create a Domino Effect

36. Give the gift of giving with charitable gift cards
Spread Goodness by treating a friend (or even a stranger!) to a charitable gift card so they can give back to a cause they care about. Through our software, you can create customizable Charitable Gift Cards!

37. Buy a coffee for the person behind you in line
A few dollars go a long way in making someone’s day! And it will be a delight to see other coffee-lovers pay it forward.

38. Do Random Acts of Kindness in your community
Kindness doesn’t have to be planned. See someone who needs help? Lend a hand. Waiting in line? Let the busy family go ahead of you.

Give New Life to Old Things

39. Donate clothes, eyeglasses or shoes to someone in need
Your gently used items are appreciated by those who otherwise may not be able to afford them.

40. Tie a clean scarf to a tree near a homeless shelter with a personal note
This less-traditional way of donating items is creative and heart-warming, in more ways than one!

41. Bring stuffed animals to the animal shelter
Stuffed animals aren’t just for humans, our furry friends love them too!

42. Give old books to a local library
By giving a few of your old books to the library you’re allowing the whole community an opportunity to enjoy them! You can also set up a virtual book drive with Reach out and Read.


43. Share a meal with a stranger
Dining out just got better! When you order a Mealshare item at participating restaurants, they’ll donate $1 towards groceries to provide a meal for those in need.

44. Loan your power tools out for the day
They’re sitting there just waiting to be used! Loan them out to a friend and if you’re feeling extra helpful you can help them with their project.

45. Sign up to be a couch-surfing host
Sharing your home can make a big difference for someone travelling. Plus, you’ll probably hear some interesting stories and maybe even make a new friend.

Be Kind

46. Return lost items
Taking the time to return a lost item to its owner likely means more that you know!

47. Write a positive review of a local business
A positive review can mean a lot to a small business any time of year. Take Goodness one step further by recommending the business to a friend.

48. Encourage others
Grab your sticky notes and get down to business! Leaving encouraging notes around the office or your home will help keep everyone in high spirits.

49. Carry someone’s bags
This kind gesture will surely get more people inspired to do good! It can also be helpful for those with limited mobility and help others avoid slipping during icy winter months.

50. Smile at someone
You can make the world a friendlier place with this small gesture. Plus, it’s easy and free!

Check out our Benevity Goodness Calendar for key awareness dates when you can put these ideas to action (and help keep giving top of mind throughout the year!)