When it comes to choosing a non-profit organization, you want to make sure your money is falling into the hands of people who will use it well. If you are passionate about the outdoors and are looking for organizations that allow you to be a part of the cause you are supporting, you have come to the right place. The following organizations will both inspire you to help others and get you outside in the process.
Buying outdoor gear can burn a hole through your wallet and without the proper gear, you are limited in what outdoor activities you are able to participate in. Peak 7 Adventures does not want money to be a drawback for anyone. This organization truly desires to get people out of the city and into the wilderness to learn that they are loved and they are stronger than they give themselves credit for.
What makes them special: Peak 7 is passionate about heading into the cities of Oregon and Washington and exposing underprivileged youth to what is usually their first outdoor experience. The heart behind Peak 7 Adventures is a spiritual one; challenging the participants to look within, find inner strength and confidence, and overcome obstacles through physically engaging, outdoor activities.
What activities they offer: Peak 7 Adventures offers Whitewater rafting, mountaineering, climbing, and kayaking. They even offer Adventure Training and Wilderness Medicine certification courses.
How you can help: Currently, Peak 7 Adventures partners with local fundraisers such as the Color Me Rad 5K, Slide the City, The Dirty Dash, and a Bocce Ball Tournament to help raise money. If you are a local citizen and wish to help, you may apply to be a volunteer whether it be for photography, office work, or even an opportunity to be an adventure guide.
If you are not-so-local, there are still opportunities for you to help. If you are able to donate to the organization, whether it be sponsoring a trip or making a small donation, any amount of money will help. If you wish to have a more active role and have a free summer, apply to be on their summer staff.
For a major part of history, outdoor recreation has been a hobby largely dominated by men. Women’s Wilderness Institute (WWI) makes it their personal goal to get more women outdoors in order to instill leadership skills, confidence, and emphasize the importance of strong, female relationships in women of all ages.
What makes them special: The pride and joy of WWI is their Girls Wilderness Program, which is a one to fourteen-day trip. Led by an all-female staff, WWI participants are mainly young women who come from low-income families and 50% of these program participants receive financial assistance from WWI. WWI also provides an environment that encourages young women to seek an inner strength and a voice they can use within their own communities long after they are done with the program.
What activities they offer: WWI offers private courses for young girls and women in activities such as rock climbing, mountain biking, wilderness yoga, and more. These private courses allow participants to learn in a safe-environment, where they can learn skills at their own pace without fear of judgment.
How you can help: You can purchase courses, expeditions, a Women’s Wilderness hoodie, and even climbing gear from the WWI website. If you simply wish to donate money, check out their site.
There are over 400 national parks within the United States and the cost of maintaining these diverse, ecological playgrounds is no easy feat. Wilderness Babes is an organization founded by women who are dedicated to protecting America’s national parks and inspiring others to do the same.
What makes them special: Wilderness Babes’ uniqueness lies not only in the fact they focus specifically on park protection but the fact they have only been around since 2014. Though a young organization, they have gained tremendous ground on Instagram and continue to inspire and connect others to America’s greatest national treasures—its natural landscapes.
What activities they offer: Wilderness Babes contributors are able to participate in community hikes. These hikes raise money for the National Park Foundation and by protecting America’s natural landscapes, you are not only helping the present generation but the generations to come. And that, is worth every penny.
How you can help: As previously mentioned, Wilderness Babes supporters are able to participate in community hikes. If you are not able to make it to a community hike, you may make a simple donation, shop at their soon-to-be online store, or be an advocate by spreading the word.
When we talk about helping others, we do not just mean people. The Orianne Society (TOS) is a non-profit organization that works to conserve the habitats of some of the most misunderstood and underappreciated animals in the world—reptiles and amphibians. TOS seeks to educate others about the important roles reptiles and amphibians play in our ecosystem. They show us that by helping these animals, we are ultimately helping ourselves.
What makes them special: Besides focusing on reptiles, amphibians and their habitats, TOS hosts community events that are unparalleled by other non-profits. These events, labeled “Places You’ve Never Herped” and “Indigo Days,” take place in different areas across the United States and most recently, Costa Rica. PYNH and Indigo Days allow their members to come together to enjoy time in the great outdoors while locating and documenting local reptiles and amphibians for citizen science.
What activities they offer: The members of TOS are able to participate in their community events. These fun-filled citizen science events allow the public to meet other like-minded people and make it possible for them to actively contribute to herpetological conservation.
How you can help: The biggest way you can help the cause of TOS is to become a member. For only an annual (and minimum) donation of $35, you have access to their community events, biannual magazines, annual reports, newsletters, and you even receive a TOS car decal. If you would like to donate in other ways, you can do so on their website.
Adventures Without Limits (AWL) lets the name speak for itself and has been a non-profit organization for more than 19 years. AWL would love nothing more than to cater to your specific, outdoor adventure needs. No matter what age you are, what your skill level is, or what your financial setbacks may be; their true purpose is in getting everyone and they mean everyone outside.
What makes them special: AWL offers custom trips and serves the entire public. This includes those who may be financially struggling or those that may have developmental or physical disabilities. AWL wishes nothing more than to help others overcome what they perceive as their personal limitations and believe experiencing the outdoors is a way they can overcome these obstacles.
What activities they offer: AWL offers whitewater rafting, inflatable kayaking, flat-water kayaking, canoeing, indoor and outdoor rock climbing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, teambuilding, caving, camping, hiking, and recumbent biking.
How you can help: AWL provides everything a participant would need, from outdoor clothing to transportation, and donations play a vital role in accomplishing AWL’s goals. If you would like to sponsor a trip or make a donation, information is on their site. If you would like to be a volunteer trip leader, fill out the application on their website.