With the holiday season in full swing, we are presented with an influx of giving campaigns from nonprofit organizations across the country. Starting on Giving Tuesday (the Tuesday following Thanksgiving) through the end of the year, these organizations depend on seasonal contributions to fully fund their programs for the year or to give them a head start going into the next one. According to Nonprofits Source, Giving Tuesday has grown from $10.1 million contributions in 2012 to $380 million in 2018.
If you’re like me, you want to donate to as many organizations as possible — and not just during the holiday season. Knowing that this isn’t always financially feasible, how do you determine how much to give, who to give to, or when to give to make the most impact?
If this all sounds stressful, you will be happy to know that these organizations don’t just need our financial support — they also need support in terms of contributing our time and expertise. In 2018, according to a federal study conducted by the Corporation for National and Community Service, 6.9 billion hours of time was volunteered by Americans, which equates to about $167 billion in economic value.
Contributing time can look different to each individual. Below are a few ways how you can get involved.
Give time to your “why.”
What are your interests? What are you passionate about? There’s most likely an organization that has those same interests and passions. Nonprofits’ missions usually rely on a “hook” to attract participants as well as donors. This could look like an education organization that advocates for diversity and inclusion in the outdoors, or a youth organization that uses skateboarding to attract youth into sustainable trades such as woodworking and carpentry. The interests — and the missions — are endless.
Give time to your community.
Those who volunteer time have also been found to engage more with their community, according to the study mentioned above. This could mean volunteering at a local shelter, helping the local HOA with community outreach, or helping out at the Humane Society. Many of these organizations need our time to achieve their mission. Not only are you helping a good cause, you’re having a direct impact on your community!
Join a board.
This is a big one. You may ask yourself, “What do I have to offer?” Take a look in the mirror. You have a plethora of experience and skills that many organizations need. Maybe you are a communications savant, a financial guru, or a master of organization. Whatever your specialty may be, your personal and professional skills can be put to good use throughout your term as a board member. Organizations such as The Catalogue for Philanthropy and Board Source act as matchmakers for potential board members and nonprofits. You also could simply reach out to an organization that interests you directly and ask them how you can get involved.
Happy holidays! Now go out and be that agent of change for good in your community!