By Rachell Buell, Client Services
As we dive head-first into the holiday season, it is common to see an outpouring of generosity, volunteering and support from individuals and organizations within the community. This time of year is also known as the season of giving – a time to help those less fortunate than ourselves as a sign of good will toward men (and women). A study by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative shows that more than half of surveyed charities reported receiving between 25 to 50 percent or more of their annual contributions in the last three months of the year. But what if there was a way to impact our communities at times other than just this season? What if there was a way to positively affect our communities in ways besides those of monetary donations? There is.
Community nonprofits and charities are year-round operations that must rely heavily on a 3-month chunk of time that inspires volunteers and supporters to get involved. But on January 1, there are still bellies needing food, people needing healthcare and animals needing rescue. If collectively as a community, we made a conscious effort to support these causes and the organizations that address them throughout the year, what kind of changes would we see on their impact within their realms of influence as well as the state of our own communities? I would argue this change would be tremendous and noticeable. So, how can you or your business embrace the spirit of giving throughout the year? Here are a few tips to make it happen.
- Identify Your Passion
Of course, we all can agree that children, the homeless and veterans need our support. Still, the most impactful community investment comes from a deep and personal connection to the organization or group it serves. What the passion element adds to your community investment efforts is a natural motivation to participate, which will boost your involvement and therefore have a greater impact on the organization. If everyone were to support the organizations that speak to their passions, just imagine the powerful influence that would materialize on the community.
- Give What You Have
Not everyone has wads of discretionary cash lying around to donate generously to the organizations they wish to support. Does this mean that you can’t help in a meaningful way? Absolutely not. Charitable community organizations are in constant need of volunteers and non-monetary donations to support their efforts. In fact, by giving of non-monetary support (pro bono professional services, volunteering or unused item donation), you are likely to see a more visible, immediate impact from your contributions. Much like selecting an organization that speaks to your passions, this will also have a significant effect on your motivation to participate, and may inspire you to participate even more.
- Make it a Priority
Similar to adopting any new habit, if you’re not already conditioned to do regular community investment, at first the effort must be a bit more prescribed. By blocking off a certain amount of time each month to devote to your community investment efforts, you’ll get on the right track to cementing the good habit. Once you’ve established the habit of regular community investment, making time for the effort will become second nature and you’ll become not only a greater resource for the cause or organization you serve but also more likely to recruit others to join you.