Try one or all of these community-strengthening ideas:
1. Volunteer your skills.
A quick search of the LinkedIn Volunteer Marketplace shows that many, many non-profits are in need of skill-based donations. These may include editing, graphic design, administration, social media, legal help, and more. You can also visit VolunteerMatch.org to turn up opportunities that may relate to your talent.
2. Donate using your credit card.
If you’re going to spend, it might as well be for a purpose. Does your credit card have miles or rewards? It’s possible to donate these to charity. Some credit card providers have special partnerships with non-profits and may even make matching contributions.
3. Shop local.
It doesn’t get much easier: Making a conscious decision to buy locally—instead of from the big website that shall not be named—only requires some Googling and a trip to a nearby store. Many small businesses may also offer online ordering and delivery. Keeping your purchases local diverts these funds back into your community.
4. Plan to tip extra.
You can support recovering restaurants and food service workers hit hard by the pandemic by increasing your tip when you can afford it. Post-pandemic, tipping more has become the new normal. Some industry sources now say that the new tip minimum may be around 25 percent.
5. Babysit for free.
At this very moment, you can probably think of someone who needs it. So, why not offer to watch a relative’s, friend’s, or neighbor’s kids for a few hours, free of charge? Most parents of young children would be eternally grateful for the support, especially if they need to catch up on appointments or errands.
For more than 30 years, we’ve created life-changing experiences through lending.
Learn more about what makes Academy Mortgage different.
6. Foster pets.
Animal lovers can give back by helping to foster pets until their forever home is found. To get started, check with local shelters and identify where there’s a need. The Humane Society, for example, says that they often have a high demand for foster homes for pregnant and nursing dogs/cats and pets with medical issues.
7. Host an event in your space.
If you have room to spare—at your business, place of worship, or property—consider lending it to a charity hosting a fundraiser. You might also donate extra office or storage space to a local non-profit. Even offering up a parking lot can be helpful to a charity hosting an outdoor event, like a carnival or 5K.
8. Create a scholarship fund.
For those who have a cause near to their heart or who have lost a loved one, this is the perfect opportunity to make meaning as you give back. Starting a scholarship fund does require research, planning, and fundraising. Scholarship management organizations also exist if you want or need professional help.
9. Spend time with seniors.
Seniors often get shuffled to the fringes of society, especially after losing mobility or when entering assisted living. Suffice it to say: Seniors would love your company. Opportunities may include signing up to be a Senior Companion, playing games at an assisted living facility, or delivering groceries or meals.
10. Perform random acts of kindness.
If you can’t commit to a weekly volunteer slot, make it a (spontaneous) daily practice to give back. Offer to cut a neighbor’s lawn. Walk through your neighborhood and clean up trash. Leave goodies or a gift card on a friend’s doorstep. Check out our list of the top ways to pay it forward for more inspiration.
11. Give gift cards to employees to gift.
If you own a business, your team is going to love this. Buy a variety of gift cards—either quarterly or annually, depending on budget—and hand them out to your employees with instructions to give them out. Even a $5 Starbucks card can brighten the day of a stranger.