Well, there’s no time like the present. You can donate your time and energy to a good cause that needs you right now.
First, think about the skills or services you have to give. Are you crafty and good with your hands? Do you like to work outdoors? Are you organized and detail-oriented? All of these skills can be put to good use helping others.
Next, what do you like to do? Trying to force yourself to help with charitable activities that don’t appeal to you will discourage you very quickly. If you’re introverted and can’t sing, you probably shouldn’t go Christmas caroling. If needles and blood make you squeamish, you may not want to help at a blood drive. Find what inspires you and do it!
And last, make it a habit. When giving back becomes part of your routine and who you are, it becomes easy to find the time and inspiration to volunteer.
Here are 7 easy ways you can give back right now:
Start in your community
Just about every community has an animal shelter, food bank or pantry, homeless shelter or senior center. These organizations can always use more hands. Many times you can get into a routine of helping once a week at the same time and same place. You can build relationships with the staff and those you assist. And, you can turn giving back into a habit.
Donate old stuff
We all have perfectly good items that we no longer use. You can go through your closet and clean out the clothes you don’t wear. You may have a storage area that is just a dumping ground for all those things you never use anymore. Get rid of what you don’t need and donate it to people who will use it.
Exercise for a good cause
You can raise money for a good cause and motivate yourself to be more fit at the same time. Participate in a charity bike ride or a run/ walk event. Many big non-profits hold these types of events all over the country. Simply go online and search for charity walks, runs or rides near you. Signing up for an event will motivate you to train and will help others in the process.
Support local arts programs
You can volunteer at local museums, community theaters or even your YMCA. Local public radio and TV stations may even take volunteers. You may be able to help out at the local library. There are many ways you can support the arts and have some fun, too.
Help in your neighborhood
You can run errands for your elderly neighbors or give them a ride to doctors’ appointments. You can deliver meals to the elderly or disabled. You can offer to rake leaves, mow the lawn or do some painting or home repairs. You may find that your older neighbors just enjoy having company.
Be a tutor
You can volunteer to be a reader at your area elementary school. Or, you might be able to mentor or tutor children. With cuts in school funding, many schools might appreciate having volunteers who can provide additional support and assistance. You may also be able to teach English as a second language or help with adult learning classes.
Connect with national non-profits
Large non-profit organizations need help, too. You can sort clothes at your local branch of the Salvation Army or Goodwill. The American Red Cross can use volunteers to help at local blood drives. The United Way is busy all across the country, and Habitat for Humanity can always use more hands.
It’s time to make volunteering and giving back part of your routine so that it becomes a habit. You can volunteer with friends or family in order to spend more time together and strengthen those relationships. Or, you can meet new people and find friends you might not have met otherwise. Giving back helps you create a greater life balance and overall satisfaction while also doing great things for others.
What are some of the groups or activities that you’ve been involved with? How have you benefited from giving back?