3 Ways to Give Back Without Giving Money

Backpacking the Uintas Highline Trail, Four Lakes Basin

The state of the world (or maybe just the country) currently has you horrified. You’ve been eating ramen for days and you can’t afford a shower or laundry. All your friends are tweeting links about places to donate, but you ain’t got a dime to your name. What can you do?

The task of protecting our open spaces, which helps feed tourism, local economies for entire towns, and creates jobs, has been denied and ignored by the now fully conservative Congress, and it is now up to the public to protect where we play. The following is a list of organizations dedicated to the conservation of parks and climate. Support is needed now more than ever, and we will not stop fighting for our lands, our energy, or our climate.  – Michael Restivo, Mike Off the Map

Instagram it

For Black Friday and this coming holiday weekend, Outdoor Research is giving back, in addition to shuttering its doors. You don’t have to fork over cash; Outdoor Research is doing it for you. For every post that you tag with #OptOutside AND #OutdoorResearch, the Seattle-based company will donate $10 to Paradox Sports, up to $5,000.

Free ways to give back to the outdoors

What are you waiting for? Get outside, get snapping.

For more details, visit their blog post.

Get your hands dirty

Where do you go outside the most? How can you help reduce your impact on it? Volunteer your time to build trails, do crag maintenance, remove graffiti, pick up trash. Reach out to your local climbing organization or state park to find days where you can bring a bunch of friends and get dirty. Bonus: sometimes there’s free pizza.

Bay Area Climbers Coalition Castle Rock Clean Up Adopt a Crag

Manual labor not really your thing? (Don’t worry, it’s not mine either.) Volunteer at a summer camp. Teach kids how to climb. Growing up, my parents sent me to Walden West, a summer camp that was run by the Santa Clara County Office of Education, nestled in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It was so fun because of all the people I met there, campers, counselors and leaders alike. We hiked, we swam, we climbed, we backpacked. It was so impactful that I went back and gave about 3 weeks of my summer every year until the end of high school. If it weren’t for Walden West and those leaders, I wouldn’t have such a great love for the outdoors. Help someone else feel that same joy.

Additionally, you’re not a dirtbag and you have gainful employment, check to see if your employer will match your volunteer time with  dollars. Everybody wins.

Get involved

Do you have thousands of followers? Maybe you can’t hammer a nail to save your life, but your words could charm the pants off just about anything. Do you put on really rad events or have ideas for really rad events?

If being behind the scenes is more your thing, reach out to your local outdoor non-profits to volunteer those skills to help run their social, create content, organize events, fundraise, score free cookies and coffee and more.

Did I miss something? Got any other ideas? Do you have an organization that you think deserves recognition or volunteer time? Let me know in the comments.

Note: I talk a lot about organizations in California and the Bay Area because that is where I currently reside and they are what I am familiar with. Google is great and can help you find your local organizations. Or if you’re really lazy, reach out to me and I will help you!