Happiest of holidays, friends. Whatever it is you’re celebrating over the course of these next few weeks, I hope you’re spending some good, quality time with your family or with your friends or with yourself (whatever you decide to do is excellent in my book!!).
While this time of year can feel like an absolute swirl of deadlines and travel and shopping and rushing and socializing andandand, one thing I particularly love about this season is that everyone just seems…more kind, more open to connection, more open to giving to others. Maybe I am wrong or maybe that is solely my experience or maybe it’s simply the vibe I am getting at this particular coffee shop on this particular morning!! Who’s to say. But there is something about this season that feels ripe for giving.
In that spirit, today we’re sharing a few ways you can give back as we close out 2019 and begin an entirely new decade. These ideas are fitting for everyone, whether you prefer to give monetarily, give the gift of time, or just do something nice for the people in your life.
Whatever you’re doing this week and however you’re celebrating, I hope you have the loveliest of holidays.
Having worked at a nonprofit for the first part of my career, I know that the end of the year is generally a time when nonprofits garner a sizeable amount of the donations that help them fulfill their missions in the year ahead. If you’re thinking of donating to a nonprofit, the end of the year is a great time to do it. For folks local to Minnesota, you can find a list of nonprofits through the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.
If you’re looking to put your time toward helping others, there is no shortage of volunteer options available to you. One place to find volunteer opportunities in cities around the country is through VolunteerMatch. And if you’re local to the Twin Cities, HandsOn Twin Cities is a great place to look for local volunteer opportunities. Additionally, some companies will promote volunteer options directly within their employee network, and many colleges have a volunteer center which serves as a great volunteering resource for students. Wherever you’re at, you shouldn’t have to look too far to find a volunteer opportunity that works for you.
If you’re looking to volunteer in another capacity, you could also consider joining the board of a local nonprofit. From raising funds to planning events to helping spread awareness about the cause within your own network, becoming invested as a board or committee member at a nonprofit is an amazing way to give back.
If you want to give back but don’t have a lot of time to spend or extra money to spare (and folks, I understand—this time of year can be expensive as it is!), an alternative option is to give clothing items, toiletries, or food to a homeless shelter or food shelf. If you’re local to Minneapolis, you can find a list of food shelves throughout the city here.
Before giving, I’d recommend visiting the website of your local shelter or food shelf to see what specific items are most needed. For example, the family-focused Minneapolis homeless shelter People Serving People has comprehensive lists of the items they need most, from board and picture books to winter coats to air mattresses to diapers and pull-ups.
It’s easy to take for granted the people closest to us in our lives; to go through the minutiae of our daily (or monthly) texts with them and our whenever-we-can-fit-them-in get-togethers without giving the relationships themselves a lot of additional thought. It’s easy to just assume they know how much they mean to us. But folks!! Even if we know, inherently, that the people in our lives care about us, it can be nice to have a reminder of it every once in a while.
Pop on over to your nearest card-selling retailer, get something that will make your friend or family member or coworker and whoever smile, grab yourself a pen, and write put your feelings right there on the paper. (Or make a card yourself! I believe in your artistic talents!!) It may seem like a small gesture, but it can mean a heck of a lot.
Looking for more ways to give to others? For Random Acts of Kindness Day this past February, Kate wrote a lengthy list of ways to give back. From doing the dishes without being asked to babysitting (free of charge) to sending a funny meme, there are always ways we can infuse a little good into the lives of others, even in the smallest of ways.
What other ideas do you have for giving back, both throughout these next few weeks and well into 2020? How have you given to or shown up for those in your own lives? Folks, you know I’d love to hear your examples!!
BY Jackie Saffert - December 24, 2019
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.