If you’re thinking about doing some charitable giving this holiday season, why not give the gift you know best—writing? There are many ways to put your talents to work for others, and doing it for free actually benefits you too. Volunteer work not only teaches new skills, it improves self-worth and confidence and provides an outlet for networking. You might even land some paying gigs in the process!
Ready to give a little year-end writing for free? Here are 12 ideas to get you started:
1. Write Grants for Nonprofits
If you’ve never done grant writing in the past, it’s never too late to start. Seminars and courses on grant writing are widely available, but you might also find a grant writing mentor to guide you through the process. Check with your favorite nonprofit for volunteer grant writing opportunities or go to volunteermatch.org for ideas.
2. Volunteer Your Editing Skills to Schools
Students of all ages and backgrounds could use a little writing help, and many teachers welcome writers to share their expertise. See how you can help a school in your community by volunteering your writing and editing skills—or just visiting to discuss your profession.
3. Guest Blog for a Website
Whether you get a link back to your website or not, guest blogging is a great way to volunteer your talents to another writing professional or startup business. Be willing to blog about whatever would help the website gain exposure and readers.
4. Write for a Community Newsletter
Newsletters contain valuable information for the community. If you have a newsletter you like to read, why not contribute to it? Animal rescue groups, arts councils, chambers of commerce, and other local organizations put out newsletters regularly. Find one that interests you and get crafting!
5. Write a Letter to an Inmate
Check with local and regional prison and correctional facilities for direction on writing letters to inmates. Or, see if a local church has a prison outreach program that encourages inspirational letter writing.
6. Draft a Response to a Newspaper Editorial
Did you read an article recently that got you thinking? Newspapers like to print responses to their editorial pieces from readers. You won’t get paid, but you will get noticed—and read.
7. Contribute to a Nonpaying Magazine
Nonpaying magazines may not be your first choice when it comes to submitting your work, but your contribution can pay off in more ways than monetary reward. You’ll help the editors fill their calendar, support your peers, and give readers the gift of the written word. Submit to a nonpaying children’s magazine or e-zine, and impart your knowledge for the benefit of the next generation of readers and writers.
8. Host a Writing Workshop
Got kids in the neighborhood who like to write? Invite them over for a fun day of writing activities. Play word games, write stories based on a popular theme, or have the kids rewrite a favorite fairy tale. You might also volunteer to host a writer’s workshop at your public library or other venue.
9. Help Fundraise with Free Content
Fundraisers help a worthy cause or an individual in need. Write content to help fundraise, and see how your writing can bring in money to improve the lives of others. If you don’t know where to fundraise, look online for fundraising options where you’re work might be needed.
10. Write a Review
Holiday books and movies are popular this time of year. Volunteering to write a review helps people decide which one to pick. When writing a review, avoid going on a rant. Try to find the positive in everything, but be honest about your opinions and experience. You might also write a review on a new restaurant in town.
11. Tutor for Adult Learners
Want to help adult learners become better writers? Sign up to offer tutoring help. Check with the library or a community center for information on volunteer tutoring work.
12. Volunteer with Distributed Proofreaders
If you like to proofread, volunteering with Distributed Proofreaders might be just the ticket. Distributed Proofreaders welcomes help from anyone who enjoys working with words. You’ll help proofread public domain e-books as part of Project Gutenberg and can do it a page at a time or whatever fits your schedule. For more information, go to https://www.pgdp.net/c/.
Image by Shayla