Your community provides you with resources, support and entertainment. Your community is where you live and work and shop and play. Yet your community and its other residents have struggles and needs of their own. This is why it’s so important to give back to your community. Here are five ways to do so.
Your community is filled with good causes that need your financial support. Select one or two organizations, a food shelf perhaps or a youth support or service group, and fit a donation into your budget. You may choose to make a one-time gift, or you may decide to contribute regularly every month. Even if you can only donate a small amount, every bit counts for an organization trying to meet its budget. By keeping your donations local, you will give your community some much-needed support.
You can also give back to your community by giving of your time. While organizations certainly need financial gifts, they all need volunteers to support their programs and efforts. Spend a few hours a month tutoring kids, for instance, or stocking shelves at the local food shelf. Volunteer to clean up a local park or paint the community center. If you have in-demand skills, you can make an in-kind donation of your labor on various community projects. If you are a plumber or electrician or lawyer or accountant, for instance, donate your time and work to an organization that needs someone with your expertise.
Giving back to your community doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money. You can do so simply by being kind to the people around you. Give someone a warm smile. Let someone go ahead of you in the grocery store line. Offer to reach for something on a high shelf. Give a server an extra tip. There are possibilities for kindness all around you. All you have to do is pay attention and recognize them. These may seem like little acts that make no real difference, but you might be surprised at how far your kindness can travel.
Recycle and Conserve
While you may not associate your efforts to care for the environment with giving back to your community, the two are, indeed, linked. When you recycle, for instance, you are preventing waste from going into your community’s landfill. When you conserve resources like water and electricity, you make more available for your neighbors, and you reduce the wear and tear on the systems you all use. This, in turn, may mean fewer costs for maintenance and repairs, which benefits everybody.
Start a Foundation
If you see an unmet need in your community and have the necessary resources, consider starting a foundation of your own to address the need. This is what Ralph Thurman, co-founder of The Giving Tree Foundation, did when he saw a gap in the services offered in his community. He took the initiative and filled that gap. You could do so, too. Be sure, though, if you start such an undertaking to get plenty of legal and financial guidance.
When you give back to your community, your neighbors will reap the benefits, and you may find great satisfaction.