Have you ever felt compelled to give back, but then looked at your schedule or your bank statement and decided that it’s just not possible?
You actually don’t have to spend money or invest a lot of time to make an impact.
Giving Tuesday is just around the corner. As a global day dedicated to giving back (after the shopping madness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday), it is a good day to pause and reflect on how you can give back.
Giving back can be easy, enjoyable and best of all, it can be completely free.
To help guide your decision of how to give back, here are a few questions to ask yourself first:
1. What types of causes are you most passionate about? Is it animal care, supporting refugees, or the local library where so much knowledge is shared? Considering what is important to you will help you find a good fit and keep you motivated.
2. Do you want to bring your friends and family together to help out or do you prefer to take on an initiative alone? Bringing family or friends together to give back can be a great bonding experience, but doing a solo project can also be very satisfying.
3. How much time or resources are you willing to expend? Once a week or once a month or just a couple of times per year? Establishing parameters for your time and efforts will help you make the most of your giving experience.
Ready for some ideas? Here are 10 ways to give back (without giving up the contents of your wallet!)
1. Pick up trash in your local park or beach. This won’t cost you a thing and the time spent outside in the fresh air also helps you stay active. Win-win.
2. Tutor or mentor youth. Whether you help your niece or a an organized program at a local school, giving a bit of time to help guide a young individual can be super rewarding! (Remember how awkward and challenging that time was? You can give your knowledge to others and help them along.)
3. Check in on an elderly neighbour. Stop by once in a while to say hello to an elderly neighbour. If you have a bit of time, prepare a meal for them, shovel their driveway or bring some flowers or cookies. Any small gesture to check up on them will be so much appreciated, especially if they don’t have family nearby.
4. Write a letter to a veteran or a refugee. Sometimes all you need is some words of hope and support. Writing a letter can be an easy way to brighten someone’s day. And you never know, you might just end up with a pen-pal for life.
5. Love to cook? Prepare meals for those in need. This can be as easy as distributing f to homeless people in your local area or volunteering at a local soup kitchen or food bank. The gift of a home cooked meal is one easy way to warm someone’s belly and heart.
6. Donate clothing or furniture. Do you have some furniture collecting dust or a shirt you haven’t worn since 1993? These old items can find new life with someone who will make better use of them.
7. Shop companies that give back. Many companies donate a portion of your purchase to a charitable partner. If you are holiday shopping or making a purchase for yourself already, do some extra research to find retailers that give to a cause that you care about.
8. Love furry four-legged creatures? Give your time to some animals. Incorporate your love of dogs by volunteering at local animal shelter to help with their care. Or if you have a pet, bring it to an elderly neighbour or someone without their own furball to help cheer them up.
9. Walk or run for a cause. Charitable events are a great way to get some exercise, raise funds for a cause you care about and still not have to spend a dime. Have your friends and family sponsor you with a small or big donation while you train for your walk or run. (Walk in Her Shoes is coming up soon!)
10. Smile. The easiest, lowest cost and least time-consuming way to give back? A SMILE! Share a smile with the cashier, a neighbour, a passerby. The power of a smile can go a long way to brighten someone’s day.
Will you test one of these ways to give back? Giving Tuesday is coming up on November 27 and is, of course, the perfect time to get started. How much giving do you think we can cram into one day? (We hope these ideas will help you find out!)