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Death Becomes Us (our true crime festival!) is this weekend (get your tickets here) and it has us thinking about how we can use our love of true crime to do good. There’s only so many true crime movies and TV shows and podcasts and books and fictional stories based on true crime you can consume before it all starts to weigh on your soul / heart / brain. As passionate as we are about the genre, it’s hard to watch abuse and injustice play out on a daily basis and not do anything about it. If you’re into true crime but you’re past the point of just loving it, you want to actually make a difference in the people you read about, this is a great place to start. Whether you’re donating your money or your time, you’re doing the right thing.

Before you donate or volunteer your time, please do your own research. Only you can decide if a charity meets your personal criteria.

Innocence Project

If you’re tapped into the true crime world, you probably already know about the Innocence Project, but if you’re just immersing yourself in the fascinating (and incredibly sad) world of crime and killers, you’re going to hear about this charity a lot! Simply stated, the Innocence Project is focused on exonerating people who have been wrongfully convicted and fights to stop injustices before they happen. You have a lot of options if you’d like to help the Innocence Project. You can donate money (which is usually the best route, let the professionals take it from there), you can sign up for their monthly newsletter which will prompt you to help with specific timely events, you can find a local group through the Innocence Network and help out in your hometown, you can host fundraising events or schedule an exoneree to speak at your college / business / group / whatever. There’s a lot of options tailored to your specific skills!


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Another huge organization, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network does so many different things to help survivors, they make it easy to get involved. RAINN has partnerships with over 1,000 sexual assault service providers in the U.S. (which makes it easy to help a local chapter), operates the DoD Safe Helpline and runs the National Sexual Assault Hotline. It’s a lot, which means you have a lot of volunteering options! You can (of course) donate money, volunteer with their hotline, start a fundraising campaign with them, engage in student specific activism and share your own story as a survivor. Either way, you’re helping a really important organization.


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End the Backlog

If you’re passionate about helping survivors of sexual assault and would like to work on a large scale level, check out End the Backlog. It’s a program that was started by the Joyful Heart Foundation (a domestic violence and sexual assault charity) that works to end the rape kit backlog in the U.S. and bring public awareness about the dire state of the backlog. If you want to help, you can donate money, reach out to your elected officials on behalf of End the Backlog, sign up for timely action alerts and raise awareness by sharing information about the backlog through your personal network.

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

You can tell exactly what this organization is fighting for by their name, but if you’re not familiar with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, they work with a variety of groups (families, law enforcement, etc) to try and prevent abductions, find children who are missing and end child exploitation at large. If you’re interested in helping you can donate money, host a fundraiser, help them spread the word or get your corporation involved as a fundraising partner. Their website is also a great place to keep up to date on active Amber Alerts so you can keep your eyes peeled.


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Cold Case Foundation

This organization describes themselves as the “ultimate resource for homicide, missing person, unidentified bodies and rape/sexual assault cold cases with serial characteristics.” Like End the Backlog, it’s a slightly more niche charity with a singular focus, to solve more cold cases. if you know anything about true crime, you’ve probably already heard in your podcast / documentary / TV series of choice how much time and how many resources it can take to solve a cold case. Because this is work that is primarily done by professionals, the best way to help the Cold Case Foundation is by donating money. if you have any spare cash, they could definitely use it.