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See a Need, Meet a Need

Tips on how to contribute to a good cause

If you've ever seen a need in your community – an empty food shelf for the hungry, a homeless person shivering in the cold, a first-grader struggling to read – you likely wondered how you could help. Should you volunteer? Should you write a check?

What if you discovered there was no one to organize the volunteers? No one to put the check to good use? No organization that was meeting the need? Would you start your own group?

If you feel drawn to create an organization for a good cause, here's some advice from those who have done just that.

Pray about it

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart," says Polly Hennig, one of the cofounders of Bethania Ministries (Link opens in new window). "If it's a worthy need – and there are so many throughout the world – pray for guidance and God will guide you along the way."

Get specific

Needs are many, diverse and global. Find one thing you want to work on or one group you want to help and do it.

Learn about nonprofit management & governance

Take classes through your local university or community center.

Get more points of view

Ask people who believe in your cause, but ask some who don't. You'll need different ideas and backgrounds than yours to help you figure out how to structure your organization.

Don't give up

Even after Basket of Hope was up and running, "well-meaning people still made discouraging comments, like 'You're not really making a difference – you're just dropping something off,'" remembers Angela Brunette, who decided to put the future of Basket of Hope (Link opens in new window) in God's hands. "You can tell by the fruit," she says. "If it produces fruit, we'll know it's God's blessing."

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