You don’t always have to donate money towards mainstream and popular charities to make a difference to people’s lives. There are thousands of lesser known, grassroots efforts using their limited resources to make a positive impact in local areas across the globe.

The White Helmets

The Syria Civil Defence force works on the ground to rescue people from destroyed buildings following explosions and other major events. More commonly known as the White Helmets, due to the hard hats worn during its work, the charity is a non-governmental organisation made up of volunteers. All of the donations made to the “hero fund” are used to pay the medical care of those injured or killed in action, as well as supporting their families.

Marmalade Trust

Marmalade Trust was founded in 2013 to help pensioners combat loneliness and provide companionship to them throughout the year but especially on Christmas Day. You can become involved by organising a local fundraising event or making a one off or regular donation online.

SOS Animals

SOS Animals, which is based near Malaga in Spain, is a charity focused on rescuing and rehabilitating dogs so they can find new homes in countries across Europe. To be involved with SOS, you can volunteer to help out at local market stalls, walk dogs and donate money and materials.

Penny Appeal

Penny Appeal transforms lives and empowers communities in more than 30 countries across the Middle East and Africa through poverty relief. Since 2009, the charity has offered water solutions, orphan care, emergency food and medical aid to those in need. Its current Winter Emergency Appeal aims to deliver life saving aid to children and families by providing the shelter and winter clothing required to survive extreme weather.


Brooke Action for Working Horses and Donkeys is an international animal welfare charity. It is dedicated to improving conditions for many of the animals used for work in areas such as the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and Asia. People help this organisation by donating online, becoming a volunteer speaker or raise money by participating in events such as the London Marathon.

The Syrian American Medical Society

SAMS aims to provide medical treatment in war torn areas such as Syria and for refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. The charity has installed 106 medical facilities, delivered 24,318 babies, and supported 1,700 health workers and over 2.6 million patients since it was founded almost two decades ago.

The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity

The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity is a world leading cancer centre that aims to pioneer new treatments and deliver the best care to patients to save lives. They hold events such as the South Downs Trekathon in East Sussex to raise their necessary funding.

How to support local small charities

Volunteering is perhaps the best and most rewarding way to offer assistance to charities in your local area. You don’t have to possess special skills to complete general tasks, but you can offer professional services to a charity by logging onto a platform such as Charity Choice. You can also donate online, campaign in your local area, fundraise indoors, take part in sponsored events and complete general collections. All of these actions help every charity.