Why is it so important to find a cause you love and volunteer your time? Spending time enriching your community is a great way to broaden your perceptions of the world. By immersing yourself in a community and surrounding yourself with people who are dedicated to bettering the world, you can learn so much about how the world works. You gain a unique sense of purpose by serving those around you, one which often manifests in other areas of your life.
Of course, it’s also important for your community! Without volunteers, many of the services and events we enjoy in our communities would not be so readily available. Spending time helping out at local shelters or food banks provides an important service to less fortunate neighbors. Giving back to the place you call home helps to unite the community and bridge some of the social, economic and political gaps.
Giving back is also a great way to get to know your community and its citizens. When you volunteer, you have the opportunity to meet lots of new people. Working alongside individuals who also care about improving their surroundings will allow you to broaden your network of friends. Additionally, it will help you to better understand the circumstances of other members of your community. Having a broad, open-minded perspective of the different walks of life around you will help you to be an effective and empathetic citizen.
People skills are not the only skills you will gain through volunteering! Dedicating time to help others will teach you patience, kindness, and resilience. Not only will you improve your communication abilities by working alongside a diverse team of people, but you will also gain a plethora of other experiences that will help you as you navigate your future. Volunteering may even help you discover a new passion or interest.
There are so many important causes out there that always need volunteers to support the work they’re doing. Whether you’re passionate about advocacy, animal rights, or helping the homeless, you can find a valuable way to donate your time. Many towns and cities have community centers, which can be a great place to find opportunities to give back to the place you call home. You can also check websites like VolunteerMatch or Idealist for volunteer opportunities that fit your interests and abilities. Even if you only donate a few hours of time each month, you will be making a huge difference in the lives of others.
1. A Random Act of Kindness for A Neighbor
Volunteering your time and energy can help strengthen your neighborhood with simple gestures of kindness. Lending a helping hand to a neighbor who is juggling handfuls of groceries to moving a piece of furniture is a generous act that leaves a lasting impression.
2. Participate in Fundraisers and Charity Events
Finding a cause that you are passionate about can be great motivation for assisting or even creating a fundraising event or charitable activity in your community. While Together We Rise is located in Brea, CA, we work with a network of volunteers nationwide. So location is no excuse to not be involved with charity events.
Giving back to the community sometimes involves bringing people together and working toward a single cause. Instead of donating personal finances or proceeds, local organizations or citizens can plan large-scale fundraising events which raise awareness of a local need, encourage local unity, and bring in lots of money.
Community events can be about more than raising money. Use these opportunities to gather in-kind donations, such as diapers for a new mom, canned foods for a food pantry, or furniture and appliances for a family whose home was destroyed. Habitat for Humanity or the American Red Cross both offer local community involvement projects, so check out those large organizations as well as our nonprofit partners.
Enlist your neighbors in your effort to give back and offer to handle logistics. Pass out fliers listing suggested donation items, your on-porch pickup time and the local food bank or shelter where you will deliver the donations on your block’s behalf.
Support local nonprofits and schools through “passive giving” programs. Check with your favorite charitable organizations to see if they have fundraising partnerships with area businesses. In some cases, a local business might donate a portion of sales to area nonprofits during the holidays. Some online marketplaces, such as Amazon Smile, also will donate a portion of the purchase price on qualifying products to the charitable organization of your choice at no cost to you.
3. Help a child in need
If you want to help a child in need, you can volunteer with organizations such as Together We Rise, whose aim is to help improve the lives of youths in foster care. They also provide resources to youths who have aged out of the foster care system, and they’re always welcoming volunteers throughout our nation. While they’re in Brea, California, there are also other volunteer opportunities available nationwide that empower and support children in need.
Volunteering at your local senior center as ways to give back to the community can help prevent the feeling of isolation and depression among certain seniors. Some of the ways you can help include aiding seniors with daily tasks, keeping them independent and in their own homes. You can also volunteer to help aging seniors by joining organizations geared toward benefiting seniors in need.
If you have more time than money, volunteering may be a more effective and viable way of giving back to the community. Consider places you already spend a lot of time with, such as your child’s school or your congregation. Those who work, and give their time, in these local places can often use an hour or two from volunteers to take extra tasks off their hands.
5. Plant a tree
Trees are essential not only for the environment but to us as well especially in a time where air pollution is a growing issue. Trees produce oxygen, release and absorb water, as well as absorb carbon dioxide. With each tree planted, we decrease toxicity in addition to encouraging wildlife and wellness.
Adopt or step up an eco-friendly habit for a week, month or the entire holiday season. Toting your own reusables, such as travel mugs and cloth shopping bags, goes a long way.
6. Recycle your Plastic at a local Recycling Center
Whenever you recycle used materials like plastic, these materials are then converted into new products. This is so important to our environment because it reduces the need to use natural resources and reduces pollution. A great perk that recycling can offer is money in exchange for recycling your plastic material at your local recycling center.
Whether you decide to help by volunteering or recycling, there are so many ways to give back to the community, it’s up to each and every one of us to make a bigger and noticeable impact, so let’s all get started together!
Sometimes it’s easier for you, and the community organization around you, to give cash donations instead of in-kind gifts. Financial philanthropy is a great way for local businesses to get and stay involved in the community. Choosing an organization and giving a percentage or portion of proceeds each month is both good for PR and the community.
8. Recognize Those Who Serve
Giving back to the community can also come in the form of giving to those who serve or have served. Police and fire departments, local military bases, and local veteran’s organizations offer the opportunity to recognize and thank those who help the community and support the troops. You can remember them with treats or donations at the holidays or anytime.
9. Reconnect With an Old Friend
Take the time to warm some hearts (yours included) by writing a letter to a pal with whom you’ve lost touch.
10. Do Some Dogs and Cats Some Good
Donate used blankets and towels to a local animal shelter, bake homemade doggie treats, volunteer your lap for cat-sitting or consult national organizations such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) for tips on becoming an animal activist in your community.
11. Pick a Yoga Class With a Purpose
Check out donation-based yoga classes or other exercise classes that give back to local charities and needy communities.
12. Sack Hunger for a Night
Brown bag a meal or two for the homeless. Also check with local shelters for guidance on what people in your area need most. Warm socks and travel-size toiletries such as toothpaste and hand soap are little luxuries that are often overlooked and greatly appreciated.
13. Give the Gift of Life
Help save someone’s life by donating blood or plasma. Or, if you’re a nursing mama, become a breast milk donor to aide premature, critically ill and otherwise milk-needy babies. Look online for nonprofit milk banks in your area.
14. Entertain the Elderly
Visit a nursing home to spend some hang-time with residents who would love a companion for reading, letter writing, taking a stroll, using a computer, storytelling, warm-hug giving and more.