"For it is in giving that we receive" - St. Francis of Assisi
For many people, the holiday season is a time to give back to the community in ways big and small. It's often seen as a time of reflection, giving thanks, and spreading cheer to loved ones as well as to those who are in need of comfort and joy.
If you want to give your time or resources during this season of giving, you may be wondering where to start. Here are five ways to give back this holiday season:
1. Make the most of your holiday wish list
Do friends and family ask you for gift ideas? Already have the latest gadget and don't know what to ask for? Dread getting another sweater from an aunt who's fashion style is, ahem, different from yours?
If you don't have a long list this year, consider asking for donations to your favorite nonprofits in lieu of socks or a gift that you will have to return.
Explain why that nonprofit is important to you and that the donation would mean a lot.
If your family insists on buying something that you will use, ask for gift cards to a coffee shop or restaurant that you visit frequently. When you use the gift card, make a donation in the amount that you would have spent on coffee. Consider it the gift that gives back.
2. Give while you shop
Doing a lot of shopping? Be conscious of where you shop and look into ways that your holiday gift-giving can do more for causes you care about. There are a lot of stores and brands that give a percentage of your purchase to charity. Many grocery stores work with local food banks to allow you to give in the store or at the register.
One great way to give back is to choose a nonprofit to support using Amazonsmile. Amazonsmile has all the same products and services of Amazon, but when making your purchases through Amazonsmile, you can select a nonprofit and Amazon will donate a portion of your purchase price to that organization! Shop for H.O.M.E. here.
3. Sign up to give back in the new year
Volunteering and giving during the holidays is a great way to give back, but sometimes time (and money) is tight.
Perhaps time got away from you this year and volunteer opportunities for the holidays are filled up by the time you call. Maybe you want to give to an organization that does great work but you feel like what you can contribute this month isn't enough. That's ok! Get a head start on your New Year's resolutions.
Now is a great time to sign up to be a regular volunteer next year. Take a look at your schedule and see what you would be able to do. Want to make a meal for seniors once a month? Want to get a group of friends together to volunteer a few times a year? Take steps now to make it happen.
Becoming a monthly donor is another great way to make smaller contributions all year that really add up. It's a great way to commit to a cause without breaking your budget.
4. Donate gifts and goods
Looking to give something tangible this season? Organizations of all shapes and sizes have wish lists of goods that they need to do their work. Many hold gift, coat, or food drives that will directly help families that they serve during the holiday season. Check on organizations' websites or give them a call to check on deadlines and if there are particular needs.
5. Give at work
There are lots of ways that you can give at work, whether by doubling your impact with employer matching gifts or organizing a giving day with your department. Contact your company's Human Resource Department to see if they have an existing program and what you can do to help.
Are you looking for a place to give that will have a big impact in 2017?
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