One of the best ways to get into the spirit of Thanksgiving, aside from sitting alongside family enjoying a turkey with all the fixings, is to give back to those who may not be able to have such a celebration.
Sometimes, when we’re in the midst of our own financial struggle, it can be easy to believe giving back is limited to those who are affluent with resources to spare. But lending a hand doesn’t have to be a financial burden to those doing the giving. In fact, it can cost little to nothing, while providing a huge benefit to those in need.
If you are on a tight budget but still want to make a positive impact this Thanksgiving season, here are some tips to get started.
Donate your time and hard work
Your time is a valuable resource and there are plenty of local organizations who are in dire need of it. Instead of giving a monetary donation, try finding a cause that could benefit from a few volunteering hours. These could be spent building houses for an organization like Habitat for Humanity, serving food at a local soup kitchen, or helping with toy drives for an organization like Toys for Tots.
If you want to take a look at all of the opportunities in your area, check out VolunteerMatch.org.
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Use your professional skills online
Not all volunteer work requires leaving your home. In fact, there are several websites like CatchAFire that now connect you with nonprofits who could use your help in your area of expertise: design, copywriting, etc. In addition, you can find online opportunities to help with human development all over the world through UNVolunteers.
Give unused items to those who need them most
If you’re anything like me, you probably have at least 10 items to get rid of at any given time. Instead of just tossing them out with the trash, consider seeking out organizations that could really use them. Dress for Success could be a great home for your business attire that no longer fits. The Salvation Army can accept donations of clothes, furniture and other household items.
If you’re not sure where to start, this list can help.
Give back while you shop
Holiday shopping doesn’t have to just be for those you are buying gifts for, it can actually be used to benefit thousands of organizations serving people in need throughout the world.
Simply register with GoodSearch, select the organization you wish to give to, shop through select retailers with great deals and coupon codes, make a purchase and voila! A donation will be made on your behalf at no additional cost to you.
Buy gifts from a charity
Speaking of gifts, did you know some charities have online stores where all proceeds help support their work?
Unicef has a wide array of items to choose from – everything from jewelry to home décor. Or, you could go with an organization like the Nature Conservancy and gift something meaningful – like the adoption of an acre of land in the name of the recipient.
Decide giving back will be the theme of your holiday celebration
There is power in numbers, especially when it comes to giving back to those in need. So why not get your family on board and come up with a way you can really make an impact this holiday season?
Maybe that means putting together food baskets to deliver on Thanksgiving morning, or maybe it’s forgoing half the gifts you’d normally expect and employing a “pay it forward” campaign instead.
Getting buy-in from the entire family can really get the creative juices flowing while changing the tide of what we’ve come to believe the holidays are all about. Not only will it be beneficial for those on the receiving end of this generosity, but for your family as well.
What do you plan on doing this holiday season to give back to those in need?