As you know, my background is in nonprofit marketing. And end-of-year giving was always something I touted and marketed. So, as the year draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on the impact we’ve made and opportunities to continue to give back. Whether time, talent, or treasure, there are numerous creative and impactful ways individuals and businesses can contribute before the calendar turns. Here’s a list of avenues to make a difference:
- Volunteer Your Time: Local shelters, food banks, and community centers often need extra hands during the holiday season. Dedicate a few hours of your time to volunteer, whether it’s serving meals, organizing donation drives, or simply spending time with those in need. A great place to find volunteer opportunities is at United Way of East Central Iowa’s Volunteer Now page. Not sure what makes sense for you? This website helps you find the right volunteer outlet for what YOU like/want to do.
- Donate Goods or Services: Clean out your closets and gather items that could benefit others. Clothes, blankets, non-perishable food items, and toys can be donated to shelters or organizations supporting families in need. Additionally, consider offering your professional services pro bono to nonprofits or individuals who could benefit from your expertise. Goodwill Industries and Salvation Army are great places to give in most communities.
- Participate in Fundraising Events: Join charity runs, auctions, or other fundraising events organized by local nonprofits. These events not only raise funds but also create a sense of community involvement and support.
- Start a Personal Fundraising Campaign: Use online platforms to start your own fundraising campaign for a cause you’re passionate about. Whether it’s for medical expenses, education, or supporting a local project, your initiative can make a significant impact.
- Corporate Giving Programs: Businesses can get involved by setting up matching donation programs for their employees’ contributions to charitable organizations. Encourage your workplace to support and match employee donations to amplify the impact.
- Random Acts of Kindness: Small gestures can have a big impact. Pay for someone’s meal, leave encouraging notes in public spaces, or simply offer a helping hand to those you encounter during your day. Pay for the car behind you when you are making your Starbucks run!
- Educate and Advocate: Spread awareness about important causes by educating others. Share information on social media, host information sessions, or engage in conversations that raise awareness about pressing issues.
- Support Local Businesses with Social Impact: Choose to shop at local businesses that support social causes or have initiatives to give back to the community. By supporting them, you indirectly contribute to their philanthropic efforts.
- Mentorship and Skill Sharing: Offer mentorship or share your skills with individuals looking to learn. This could include tutoring, mentoring youth, teaching a class, or sharing professional expertise with aspiring individuals.
By engaging in these diverse and meaningful ways of giving back, you not only contribute to the betterment of our communities but also foster a culture of compassion, empathy, and collective support. As we approach year-end, let’s seize these opportunities to make a positive difference in the lives of those around us. Together, our efforts can create a ripple effect that extends far beyond the holiday season, leaving a lasting impact for a brighter future. Connect with me. I’d love to help you find places to give whatever you want to give.
Until Next Time,