I am a big advocate for supporting great causes. My daughter lives out this belief daily—a junior in college, she spends her afternoons serving at a nonprofit for underprivileged children in Waco. She tells us stories about her experiences, speaking about the kids like they are her own. She reminds me that we must care deeply for others and do our best to meet the needs of those less fortunate. But how? We don’t all have free hours to spend or excess cash laying around to donate, so what can we do?
Charitable organizations have more needs than you might think. Sure, they’ll always appreciate a check, but what other resources do they need? If you’re looking to make a donation, consider doing a bit of research to find out what items the nonprofit needs. An organization focused on children might need clothing, school supplies, or playground equipment. A food pantry might need containers to store materials in or even a vehicle to transport supplies. A homeless shelter might need books and board games. Get in contact with staff and find out what you can do to help. You might even be able to meet some of their needs with everyday items you already own.
I suggest sitting down with your family to make a plan to serve together. Serving alongside your kids is important, so make sure to include them in the conversation. Discuss what each person is interested in and find causes with values that match yours. Some organizations have streamlined goals, while others are broader—for example, the organization at which my daughter serves is primarily an after-school program, but also feeds hungry children, teaches weekly Bible studies, and pro
vides educational classes and college planning services. Aligning yourself with nonprofits that have similar values to you will not only increase your motivation to serve, it will also encourage you to maximize time spent there because you’re truly invested in what you are doing. We all have strengths and weaknesses, so take the time to figure out where yours can be the most helpful to others.
Every holiday season, charitable giving spikes. Serving during these times is wonderful, but try to find additional opportunities to donate your time or resources. For example, your seasonal closet or garage cleanout can easily become a donation opportunity. If you have regularly scheduled times with nothing on the calendar, consider becoming a weekly volunteer at an organization in your neighborhood. When you’re at the store stocking up on groceries, grab a few extra canned food items to bring by a food pantry or shelter. Even sharing nonprofits’ social media pages can have an impact, as spreading awareness is the first step to solving a problem. Creating small habits like these can have a monumental impact on others’ lives.
There is need everywhere. With a little bit of research, you can start to create simple habits that can help others meet these needs. Showing compassion to others isn’t hard to do, and we’re all capable of giving in some capacity. I encourage you to find opportunities to serve and make a difference in the lives of those around you.
This blog post originally appeared in The Courier of Montgomery County.
FinLife Digest is the weekly newsletter that delivers financial news, tips, and advice from United Capital experts and other leading sources.
United Capital Financial Advisers, LLC (United Capital) provides financial guidance and makes recommendations based on the specific needs and circumstances of each client. For clients with managed accounts, United Capital has discretionary authority over investment decisions. Investing involves risk and clients should carefully consider their own investment objectives and never rely on any single chart, graph or marketing piece to make decisions. The information contained in this blog is intended for information only, is not a recommendation, and should not be considered investment advice. Please contact your financial adviser with questions about your specific needs and circumstances. This blog is a sponsored blog created or supported by United Capital and its employees, organization or group of organizations. This blog does not accept any form of advertising, sponsorship, or paid insertions. Certain authors of our blog posts may be influenced by their background, occupation, religion, political affiliation or experience. It is important to note that the views and opinions expressed on this blog are that of the owner, and not necessarily United Capital Financial Advisers. As a Registered Investment Adviser, United Capital does not allow any testimonials on their blog, and any comments deemed as such United Capital will remove.
United Capital does not offer tax or legal advice; therefore all articles should not be taken as such. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. All referenced entities in this site are separate and unrelated to United Capital. Any references to any specific commercial product, process, or service, or the use of any trade, firm or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by United Capital.