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.
Earlier this month, Joe Cahill made a wonderful case in Crain's for why smaller, local organizations should be on your holiday giving list this year.
"But as we rush to check another box on our holiday to-do list, we may be passing up opportunities to make a bigger difference. Hundreds of small organizations doing great work in communities throughout our region need help even more than high-profile groups do."
As an organization that focuses locally on helping some of the most vulnerable in our community, low-income older adults, we were gladdened to read Cahill's words.
But as Cahill wrote, it does sometimes feel easier to give to more well-known organizations. If you want to give your time or resources to a smaller nonprofit during this season of giving, you may be wondering where to start.
Here are five easy ways to give big to small organizations this holiday season:
1. Make the most of your holiday wish list
Consider asking for donations to a local nonprofit that meets a need that is close to your heart 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. Then, send a link to their donation page to make it easy for your friends and family to make their gift in your honor.
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
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! Nonprofits of any size are eligible.
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.
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 2019?
Since 1982, H.O.M.E. has helped Chicago’s low-income seniors maintain their independence and thrive in their community. H.O.M.E. brings together a unique combination of services in a supportive, senior-centered environment that lessens the burden of social isolation that many seniors face. Additionally, H.O.M.E. is the only organization in Chicago that provides community support services to often overlooked low-income seniors, most of whom are Black women in disinvested neighborhoods.
When seniors with low incomes live in stable, affordable housing with community support, they thrive. We believe that the human element is essential to our model. Serving seniors with warmth, connection, and joy is our particular expertise.
You can help.
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