With the giving season upon us, people are thinking about how they can give back to their communities. There are numerous ways to give back whether by helping those in need, volunteering your time, or choosing to support businesses in your community. Here are some tips to help you find ways to give back this holiday season and beyond:
1. Identify the issues that need support
With the best intentions, many people may decide to donate or volunteer time to an organisation without asking the important question: "What is the specific need here?" Different communities, geographically, demographically, etc., have different types of challenges that need to be met, and understanding what those communities or certain organisations need is critical to make a sustainable impact.
If you want to feed the hungry, maybe they only need fresh produce, or instead of donating money to a hospital, perhaps they really need a few hours of your time to spend with children or elderly people that just don't have family around the holidays, or even cleaning up graffiti to beautify a neighbourhood landmark that serves as a place where people gather during this time of year - something you may not think of right away can make a huge difference and create a larger impact than something else that's so obvious.
2. Find a local organisation or small business that aligns with your personal values
There are hundreds of deserving causes that need help and support, but to make the biggest impact, it's best to stick to the cause that aligns with your beliefs, values and community outlook. Socially-conscious purchasing is not a new concept - more people are starting to support businesses that take a particular stance on issues or make a difference in society. Consider purchasing your holiday gifts this year from local businesses that will help bolster the economy in your community, or businesses that give a portion of its profits to a cause you care about.
3. Empower others
Doing well by doing good, and giving back to your community, is more than choosing a cause to support with time and money. Consider taking things a step further by providing tools to your community to empower them to take action themselves.
The best way this can happen is by sharing knowledge and educating people. This can be done through improving healthy lifestyles, growing their own food, creating employment opportunities or even just teaching people how to discard trash properly (reduce, reuse, recycle).
If we learned anything this past year, it's that health is wealth. Access to good nutrition is the first step people have been taking to improve their wellness. The next step is safeguarding opportunities and improving communities. We also appreciate the unique challenges confronting many underrepresented communities when it comes to starting a business, and we support organizations that provide opportunities for underserved, vulnerable, and minority communities.
4. Set goals to bolster the environment
Communities should start coming together to see what can be done collectively about bettering the environment. You can organise trash pick-ups, or perhaps you consider yourself an environmentalist and want to start educating people on the positive impacts of proper waste discarding (trash, recycling and composting) or regenerative farming on the environment, or advocate for businesses to adopt wall gardening to help mitigate pollution.
5. Bring friends
Volunteering is great and fulfilling, but it can also be fun, especially when you do it with friends and family.