For me, giving back always starts with how I can use my skills and passions to improve the lives of others. Sometimes, it’s as simple as the gift of time. I’m a huge animal lover and enjoy fostering rescue dogs. By simply investing a little time, whether that’s assisting with transportation or offering a home prior to adoption, I can help connect these four-legged friends with their forever families.
At Lucas Group, I’m part of our Community Service Committee. For our initiative this quarter, we’ve partnered with an organization called Soldiers’ Angels that supports veterans and our families. This organization is especially meaningful to us since Lucas Group was founded to match transitioning service members with exceptional employment opportunities. For Soldiers’ Angels, I’m proud that our committee has raised thousands of dollars, providing toys for the children and gift cards for special holiday meals.
Giving back doesn’t have to be limited to the holiday season. These are three ways to make an impact year round:
Choose an organization that matches your interests. Friends and colleagues can recommend nonprofits they’re involved with, but if it’s not something you personally care about, you may not feel as strongly connected.In my case, I’d help rescue dogs all day long. The friendly cuddles, licks of affection, and wagging tails are an awesome reward for me. For other people, though? They might be indifferent to dogs, or the idea of volunteering at an animal shelter for a day is scarier than a Friday the 13thmovie.
Think about your interests, skills and how you can be most helpful to the causes nearest to your heart. Perhaps you’d like to support a children’s literacy program, help plant a community garden, or gather donations for a women’s shelter. When you choose something that makes your heart sing, that energy and joy will carry over into everything you do.
Connect with local groups. While monetary donations to national organizations are always appreciated, if you’re looking to make a more personal impact, consider local branches or smaller groups in your community. Local groups are a place where your skills can make a big difference within an organization. For example, if you’re an excellent writer or have a marketing background, you could help with an organization’s monthly newsletter or website copy. If you’re a whiz with project management, you could help the team organize an upcoming volunteer day.When you volunteer with local groups, you see the immediate impact of your work and you’ll meet like-minded people who just may become new friends.
Small gestures have a big impact. I often hear people say they don’t have the time to help with big volunteer projects. That’s understandable– but I believe there’s always something you can do.For example, one of my friends collects hotel toiletries and takes the extra products when buying makeup kits, puts them in Ziplock bags, and creates care packages. A couple of times a year, she drives around and gives those care packages to homeless people.
That’s a wonderful way to give back, and it takes minimal effort. You don’t have to do a big grand gesture. Underserved individuals and nonprofit organizations appreciate any help you can provide. Maybe that’s a monetary donation, or perhaps it’s sharing knowledge and experience you already have.
Do you have a favorite nonprofit or community group you volunteer with? I’d love to hear about your experiences—leave a note in the comments below.