4 Ways YOU Can Give Back—Beyond Money

Posted on November 28, 2017

It’s that time of year, a time for generosity and the season of giving. For nonprofit organizations, many rely on the last six weeks of the year to close funding gaps and start the following year in a healthy financial state.

According to some estimates, nearly a third of annual giving happens in December, with 12 percent of giving happening in the last three days of the year.

It’s a critical time for nonprofit organizations. It’s an intentional time for philanthropists who decide how much and to whom or what to give.

The dollars matter—there’s no denying it.

But, what about other ways to give back? Millennials, for instance, are a generation known for their cause-minded purchasing. They want to work for and consume with a “make a difference” mentality. But, they don’t always have the wallets to give substantially—at least in terms of dollars. Baby Boomers have more dollars to give, and sometimes more time, too. The generation that volunteers the most, they’re often looking for ways to give back beyond the money.

The truth is, no matter age or cash balance in the bank, every individual can give back and make a positive, impactful difference. Here’s how.

GIVE YOUR TIME

Time is our most valuable resource. Giving your time can often be more valuable to an organization or individual than even giving your money. Whether you have a lot to give financially or not, the value and sacrifice of giving your time—every week, once a month, once a quarter, whatever you can do—makes a difference. Giving it away not only benefits those around you; it can benefit you as well.

GIVE YOUR TALENT

We believe every individual has unique talents and skills that, when unleashed to their fullest potential, can help improve others’ lives and their own, bringing about great fulfillment and flourishing. Whether it’s legal expertise, executive coaching, design, communications, financial assistance, human relations resources, or countless other skills, knowledge, and talents, you can help your community by lending your experience to organizations, businesses, and individuals that need it. Consider what you’re passionate about, and share it.

GIVE YOUR VOICE

Some of the most intractable problems in this country have escalated to such a level of severity because stigma, shame, and cultural stereotypes persist to a dangerous degree. Simply engaging in conversation – be it on social media, over dinner with friends, at work, or on the subway – helps dispel myths and assumptions that circulate around our country’s toughest problems. Your voice can make a difference by drawing attention to, increasing awareness of, fighting for, and educating others about hidden or ignored problems.

In this digital age, we can all be influencers within our own networks by being bold enough to talk about what matters. Challenge those around you to engage. Give your voice to a cause, not just your money.

GIVE YOURSELF

If you’ve been following Stand Together and our Catalysts, you know that relationships are at the heart of successful Catalyst programs and positive outcomes. Many Catalysts feature mentoring, case management, or one-on-one coaching as critical components to their programming. Some go so far as to say those relationships are the secret to success. While some programs hire paid staff to fill these roles, many rely on volunteers to commit to relationships with their participants. It’s not easy, but being present and showing up in someone’s life who’s never experienced a consistent, caring relationship has the power to be life-changing.

This holiday season—and beyond—consider how you can give beyond the dollars. Whether it’s your time, your voice, or your talents, you can make a difference.