Ask Eartha: What are some ways to support local organizations without money? |

Ask Eartha: What are some ways to support local organizations without money?

Dear Eartha,

I always want to contribute to local organizations, but living in Summit County can be expensive, and I find it hard to do so financially. Is there another way that I can support organizations that I believe in without writing a big check?

-Amy, Dillon Valley


One of the most effective contributions to an organization is volunteering.

Thank you so much for wanting to support organizations that truly make a difference in the High Country. The Steward household knows how hard it can be, financially, here in Summit County, with the cost of living as high as it is. But, have no fear, there are ways that you can contribute to the organizations that give back to the community without hurting your wallet.

One of the most effective contributions to an organization is volunteering. Volunteering can come in many forms and involve a number of tasks. Working a shift at an event, planting trees, serving meals and helping with zero waste are just some of the examples of things you can do. Volunteering can be good for your personal health as well. The Corporation for National and Community Service found that volunteering within your community can lead to lower mortality rates, lower depression rates and greater functional ability later in life for those that volunteer versus those that do not. So, volunteering can mean a healthier community and a healthier you.

Volunteering can be exciting as well. Many volunteer opportunities occur during special events in the county. Beer festivals, barbeque festivals, bike races and other action-packed events are always in need of help. When nonprofit organizations are contracted to help with volunteer coordination for special events, it usually means a contribution to that organization. So, by volunteering at a festival that you would otherwise attend you are contributing financially to the organization that is coordinating volunteers.

At the High Country Conservation Center, there are a couple of volunteer opportunities for the remainder of the summer that equate to a financial contribution to HC3. These are the Keystone Bluegrass and Beer festival and the Colorado Classic bike race. Both events will be zero waste in an effort to make Summit County more sustainable.

More information about these opportunities are available on the HC3 website at

Many of the fundraising opportunities for nonprofit organizations come in the form of a fun-filled event. Another way to contribute to a local organization is to attend one of these events. For instance, the concerts at the Dillon Amphitheatre and at the Historic Park in Frisco benefit various nonprofits in the county. So, by simply attending a concert or buying a beer (or two or three) you will be supporting an organization that needs it. Other examples of nonprofit fundraising events include galas, plated dinners and silent auctions. Buying a ticket or bidding on an item can translate into dollars for the organization throwing the event, and, in many cases, the cost of tickets, price of a drink or buying an item doesn’t equate to big bucks.

Amy, I truly appreciate your willingness to contribute to an environmental organization. While it may be difficult to dole out a large sum of money, attending one of these fundraisers or volunteer events can often be much easier to stomach. Remember that whatever you can spare will always help, even if it is your time (which I understand can be priceless). Thanks to all of those that continually help the nonprofit organizations in Summit County, and by your continued support these organizations help to make our community a happier and healthier place to live.

Ask Eartha Steward is written by the staff at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to Eartha at

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