Beyond Holiday Giving

Countless people are looking for ideas on how to give back this holiday season. We want to help those in need and make sure that they have the same opportunities that we do. Thankfully, there are many different ways to get involved with your community this holiday season. Here are four strategies for giving back this holiday.

Donate to your Local Food Bank

Hunger can affect anyone at any time. In the United States, one in eight people struggles with hunger, about as many as those in California and Texas combined! During the holidays, food banks are bustling because more people need them to provide for unexpected guests or extra meals.

In addition to donations of non-perishable items from your home, consider donating time to a local food pantry this year. Alternatively, consider volunteering at a food bank or soup kitchen.

Adopt a Family in Need

In addition to hunger, poverty can affect families and individuals of all different backgrounds. Many people struggle with poverty year-round, but the holidays are a callous time for those coping with financial stress.

By adopting a family in need this holiday season, you can ensure that they have everything they need while also showing them that they have not been forgotten. Adopting a family can be as simple as providing them with presents or hosting a meal, but the potential ways to help are limitless.

Host an Event at Your Local Homeless Shelter

Although homelessness affects millions of people each year, we must remember that the homeless population is not just made up of adults. Roughly thirty-five% of homeless people in the United States are under the age of eighteen.

By hosting an event at your local homeless shelter, you can help provide for these kids who often go without food or gifts during the holidays.

Send a Letter to Troops

During the holiday season, many of us go home to be with our families. For those who are serving overseas, family is just a letter away.

By sending letters to troops during the holidays, you can help make their Christmas brighter! You can write about anything you want, but it’s especially nice to hear about why they are so special to you.

Conclusion

Giving back at any time of year can leave the world a little bit bright. So get involved today!

Ways to Fundraise for your Charitable Organization

A charity needs money in order to run, and not all charities can rely on organic donations to keep going. There are times when those working at a charitable organization must figure out fundraising ideas to bring in money for that organization.

Yard Sales Help Organizations Raise Money

When a charitable organization is looking to raise a bit of money quickly, they can ask for donations and then put on a yard sale. Those setting up the sale might put prices on each item or they might ask customers to give a freewill donation. A yard sale helps people clear out their closets while helping out an organization.

Golfing Events Can Keep a Charity Going

Those who are able to plan a big event might put on some type of golfing competition. This can get golfers in the area excited, as it allows them to do something good while pursuing their hobby. Area businesses might donate prizes for the event.

Setting Up a Table with Information and Handouts Might Work

There are certain seasons when stores see a lot of customers, such as during the holiday season. Some organizations can benefit from working with a store to get a table set up somewhere near the entrance with information, handouts, and a donation box available.

Social Media Fundraisers Can Take Off

If a charitable organization has a large following on social media, they might be able to get a fundraiser started on their page and see that take off. The organization might encourage its followers to share the fundraiser and get their family and friends to join them in supporting the cause.

Putting on a Race Can be a Great Fundraising Option

Those who are looking to raise money for charity might get local businesses together to help them put on a 5K or another type of race. They can hype up the event and get the whole community excited to support their cause.

There are many ways for a charitable organization to go about earning money. Fundraising does not have to be boring work, and there are times when people will get excited to be part of a cause.

How to Start Your Own Nonprofit Organization

Many people desire to make the world a better place but lack the resources or skills needed. Starting your nonprofit organization is an excellent way to make a difference in your community and reach those who need help the most. This blog post will discuss four steps that you can take today towards starting your own nonprofit organization.

Do Your Research

You won’t be able to start your nonprofit organization without knowing what you want to do and how you’re going to go about doing it. Please research nonprofits similar to the one you hope to form and find out what they did while still starting. What challenges did they face? How does their mission statement compare to yours? If they have any advice for you, now is the time to find out. Next, figure out what your mission statement will be and how that will guide your organization. You can even write a complete business plan, which includes a detailed outline of what type of research you will need to conduct, what your goals are, what challenges you may face in the future, and how you’re going to overcome these obstacles.

Get Incorporation and State Forms

To start your nonprofit organization, you will need to file some official paperwork. A great place to look for legal advice is with a local attorney experienced in this field, who can provide a more detailed explanation of what forms and processes are needed. You may also wish to check out your state or county website, where you can find a list of all the requirements needed to incorporate a nonprofit organization.

File for Tax-Exempt Status

To accept donations and begin applying for grants, your organization will need to be recognized as tax-exempt by the IRS. In most cases, this is as simple as filling out a form requesting tax-exempt status from the IRS and waiting for your request to be approved.

Conclusion

Nonprofit organizations provide people with the opportunity to make a difference in their community. If you follow these four simple steps, you will be well on your way to starting your nonprofit organization!

How to Encourage Philanthropy in Your Family

Philanthropy is a powerful tool for social change and building communities. The need for philanthropy is increasing across the globe since many developed countries are experiencing massive economic growth with the rapid development of technology, 

Philanthropic activities create charities and organizations that help the world have played a significant role in developing civilizations. People create charities because humans are motivated to help those in need, which is an admirable goal. However, a generous, giving attitude is not something that arises spontaneously in people. Instead, it directly results from how children are raised. Teaching children values such as caring, compassion, and empathy makes philanthropic giving and charitable organizations possible in the first place. 

However, not all children in families are encouraged to support charitable works. In this article, we will share ideas from famous philanthropists about teaching children about kindness, from sharing toys on the playground to getting involved in volunteering for charitable efforts when they grow older. 

Charity Should Be Viewed as a Developmental Stage in Children 

Director of Development at Shriners for Children Medical Center Aaron Hanson believes that a charitable disposition is not genetic but a learned behavior. For this reason, it’s possible to view the idea of putting others first as a significant developmental milestone that leads to a happier life. 

A Giving Attitude Creates Happiness 

Hayley Cordaro from Boy Scouts of America points out that research shows that children who learn about the value of giving are more likely to have a happy and joyful disposition. 

Developing a Positive Attitude Toward Charity Is Like Developing a “Skill Set” 

Senior Manager of National Events & Brand Campaigns for Youth at Make-A-Wish® America Dana Gold suggests empathy is a learned skill. Children who develop it appreciate the value and benefits of charitable contributions. 

Conclusion  

The world would be a better place if parents raised children interested in improving the world. Families can contribute to a better society and environment by cultivating values like empathy in children. The world is currently in a state of apathy and turmoil. To change this, families need to appreciate the benefits of philanthropy and charity when raising children.

 

The Difference Between Charity and Philanthropy

When people think of making a difference in the world, they commonly picture either charity or philanthropy. Charity and philanthropy are about helping, but the two have differences, although people use them interchangeably. The explanation below sheds light on the difference between charity and philanthropy.

Charity

Charity usually is a short-term giving as a natural and emotional reaction to an abrupt situation. Charity can be in the form of volunteering or monetary donations. Charity correlates strongly with donations, charitable giving, and children. It also relates strongly with charity ratings and organizations.

Charity is defined as the act of giving – help, money, items, anything. It’s the humanitarian thought behind the action that earns it this classification, as the ultimate goal is to put some good back into the world.

Philanthropy

Philanthropy is about addressing the cause of social issues. It requires a long-term and more strategic approach. A significant number of philanthropists engage in advocacy in addition to volunteering and giving money. People searching for philanthropy relate it to creating, managing, research, knowledge, and organization.

Charity & Philanthropy

Sometimes charity and philanthropy congregate during particular situations like disaster relief. We all feel obliged to assist with the essential necessities when we learn about a tragedy on traditional or social media platforms.

An example is the reactions after tragedies like hurricanes and tsunamis. The number of Google searches for “charity” and correlated keywords were at an all-time high around 2005 Hurricane Katrina. Sri Lanka Tsunami in 2004 was second for charity searches. The number of searches for both cases increased approximately fivefold during peak times.

The approach to helping by one form of intervention shows the difference between charity and philanthropy. Philanthropy goes further than just helping by focusing on the entire disaster relief life cycle. It looks at prevention, preparedness, and recovery. Donors can decide to focus on specific populations like the poor, children, or elderly as a part of their strategy. Others choose to improve systems by working directly with the stakeholders.

There is a place to fit between charity and philanthropy when we get beyond definition to start giving. The charitable will always give even when they can only afford a little. They up their name when they have more and start connecting with philanthropy at this point. There is a place for both whether you think your assistance to be philanthropy or not. We can all choose the place that will help us make the most impact, including the ratio of charity and philanthropy that we plan to engage.

How Businesses Can Incorporate Philanthropy on a Budget

Philanthropy is something that can be difficult for relatively new businesses to incorporate into their models. Often, business owners wait until they’ve reached a certain financial threshold before even thinking about donating or raising money for charitable causes. However, there are plenty of simple ways in which all businesses can incorporate philanthropic practices into their day-to-day processes.

Start Small

One of the most effective ways businesses can incorporate philanthropy into their daily operations is to do so on a small scale. Business owners and managers usually have little trouble coming up with smaller initiatives to raise money. For example, businesses could easily organize parties, games, or events where proceeds and donations can go towards helping needy children or homeless shelters. Companies might also try organizing a designated donation day where customers are asked to donate small amounts of money for various causes before leaving the store. This process helps businesses raise money for people who need it and reinforces the positive customer service experience that most customers expect from modern businesses.

A Worthy Mission

Another way in which businesses can incorporate philanthropy into their operations is by taking up a mission-based approach. One of the reasons why many business owners are initially reluctant to donate is because they don’t have a worthy purpose in mind to devote themselves to. Businesses could focus their attention on improving literacy rates in local schools or promoting their own sustainability goals to customers. In other words, entrepreneurs need to find causes they are genuinely interested in helping out with before committing to philanthropic activities that don’t they don’t actually care about.

Partnering with Charities

One of the best ways businesses can incorporate philanthropy on a budget is by partnering with local charities. A partnership can take on various forms, including simple sponsorship deals to more comprehensive, long-term arrangements that give both organizations room to grow and develop together. When businesses partner with charities, they help both organizations grow and improve at a faster rate.

Start Today

As businesses get older and more established, they tend to gradually build up the capital reserves that can be used to fund philanthropic causes. However, this doesn’t mean that new businesses or companies with a small budget aren’t able to incorporate philanthropy into their operations. By working hard from day one and focusing on important movements or causes in their local communities, all business owners can feel the joys of helping those in need while also bettering their own reputations as excellent employers.

Tips For Volunteering Overseas

Volunteering is a beautiful way to make a difference while supporting the nonprofit organizations that you love. It makes you feel like you have a purpose in the world while making the lives of others better.

The idea of volunteering overseas can be both intimidating and appealing for many potential volunteers out there. Yet, there is specific advice that they should try to follow. This advice will help keep them from making mistakes and unintentionally causing more harm than good.

Know the Organization

Unfortunately, there are a few pitfalls volunteers need to be aware of when considering volunteering overseas. When looking for an organization, keep exploitation concerns in mind. Some less scrupulous organizations may be willing to overcharge volunteers for the opportunity to help others.

While other organizations out there care less about causing a lasting positive change and more about making a profit. These organizations are at high risk for causing more damage in the long run and should be avoided at all costs. 

When it comes to organizations hoping to connect volunteers with vulnerable children, it is imperative to look closely at what is happening. Look at child protection policies, and make sure they are in line with common sense and ethics.

Keep Reading

Once you’ve found an organization that meets your needs – and the standards mentioned above – it is time to look more closely at the project itself. Generally, when an organization sends out volunteers, they do so with a purpose.

There is a vast difference between heading overseas to help build houses versus providing additional aid and education. Now is an excellent time to read up on the program itself and better understand what skills will be needed.

Research

Now that the organization and location have been decided upon, it is time for the next round of research. It’s time to research the area itself! Look up essential tourist guides to start – safety, advice, language tips, etc. 

This is a good starting place. Also, look up where you’ll be staying, what the cultural norms are, and if possible – reach out to volunteers who have gone before you. This will help create a better understanding of the location and what will be asked of you.

Benefits of Service Dogs

Service dogs play a critical – yet oft-overlooked – role in the daily lives of many people. Service dogs can change the quality of life for many of those with disabilities and those with chronic conditions.

It’s essential to know how service dogs can help improve life, if for no other reason than to appreciate and respect these animals and their important work truly. Listed below are some of the benefits of service dogs – though it is by no means a complete list.

Aiding Mobility

Service dogs are trained to provide physical aid to their owners. For example, they can reach wheelchair users’ items and provide basic tasks for those that can’t, fetch objects, press buttons, etc. 

Medical Alerts

Some service dogs have been trained to be on alert for people experiencing a medical crisis. Specific episodes can be alerted in advance, allowing the person to either get to a safe place or request help. Otherwise, service dogs can provide a safe space, get help, or stand watch as needed.

Fall Prevention

Service dogs provide a critical service for those that deal with fatigue, physical challenges, pain conditions, or just have trouble walking. These dogs are specially trained to help a person who is struggling with their balance. They can brace a person about to fall or help soften their landings. Furthermore, they can provide help by fetching items (reducing the risk of getting up needlessly). 

Independence

Thanks to service dogs, many people have gained a level of independence that they would otherwise not have been able to reach. They no longer have to rely on those around them and can always trust their service animal to provide whatever aid is needed.

Companionship

Having a service dog comes with the added benefit of always having a companion around. Yes, that companion is working, but they are incredibly loyal and willing to help out however possible.

As such, service dogs can help reduce certain adverse emotional states, such as anxiety, depression, and loneliness. All while boosting positive ones, including self-confidence and happiness.

It’s important here to note the significant differences between a service dog and a therapy animal. While both have their benefits, ultimately, they do provide vastly different tasks. Be sure to properly research both before deciding which one is right for you.

The Benefits of Volunteering

There are many reasons why people choose to volunteer their time to an organization they appreciate. Those reasons can include the desire to help nonprofits succeed, make a difference in the world, or even just the idea of learning a new skill.

The truth of the matter is that volunteering comes with many benefits. Some of those benefits are for the individuals helping out, while many others go toward the organization in need. Here are just a few of the ways that volunteering can make a difference.

Developing New Skills

This may surprise many, but volunteering can and will teach a person new skills. These skills can then be used in a multitude of ways, from work experience to personal advancement.

Provides a Sense of Purpose

Gaining a sense of purpose is probably one of the more common reasons why people volunteer – even if they don’t realize it at the time. The idea of joining something more significant and extraordinary is powerful and something that nearly every human desires.

Building a Community

Volunteer work has been known to help build and strengthen communities, as confirmed by the Corporation for National & Community Service. This happens on both a macro and micro scale. On the one hand, the community as a whole is strengthened. On the other hand, individual volunteers improve their networks as they come together.

Boost Self-Esteem

To put it simply: volunteering feels good. Furthermore, it has been scientifically proven that volunteering can improve self-esteem. This means that a person can simultaneously help their community and themselves at the same time.

Gaining Experience

Volunteering can provide valuable experiences, many of which can be applied to in a work environment. Volunteering can be included on a resume and is often something that management may look for, especially in a relevant field.

Physical Health Opportunities

Many of the volunteer opportunities out there are at least somewhat physically demanding. While this may sound intimidating to some, what it really means is that this is yet another opportunity to achieve more goals. A person can get exercise and do good at the same time.

Reduces Certain Risks

According to Medical Press, people who actively volunteer may be at a lower risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, studies from the Journal of Gerontology help support this statement by showing that social service improves elasticity in the brain. This, in turn, can help prevent certain health conditions down the line. 

 

How to Support an Abused Loved One

Domestic abuse is many people’s worst fear. But how do you help a loved one who is being abused? You might not live with them or see them often, but there are still many ways you can support them.

 

Listen to Them

Often, survivors of domestic violence go unheard. They may subtly hint that they are being abused, or that their relationship is impacting them negatively. It is never right to assume one way or another, but you can listen and ask the right questions. Directly asking “Are you being abused?” may not solicit an accurate response, so be careful with your wording. Avoid accusations, and instead focus on your loved one.

 

Give Guidance if Asked

This is a difficult step, because many victims of abuse will not admit they are being abused. However, if a friend or family member asks you for advice, offer them words of encouragement and let them know that they deserve to be treated respectfully. Again, focus less on accusing the abuser, as this may push your loved one away. Also, allow the victim to make their own decisions. Abusers often control their victims, so empowering them will give them hope.

 

Offer a Place to Stay

This may not be feasible for everyone, but if you have space for your loved one, offer to let them stay with you until they get back on their feet. Many victims suffer from financial abuse, where the abuser controls all of their money. They may not have a way to leave on their own, so offering a helping hand is a great way to show your support.

 

Share Resources

There are hundreds of resources for victims of domestic abuse, such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Make sure your loved one is aware of the resources available to them. Also suggest going to therapy, and offer to help find a therapist that specializes in domestic abuse. Your loved one may not be ready to talk about their trauma, so respect their decision either way. They may also be more comfortable if you accompany them to their first few sessions, and this is a suggestion you may also make.

 

Educate Yourself

Education about domestic violence is the best way to empathize with your loved one. There are plenty of resources about why victims stay with abusers and many other important topics. Reading current research from psychological professionals and stories from survivors can help broaden your knowledge. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to educate yourself about domestic abuse, not your loved one’s.

 

Love Them

This is simple. Show your love and support in as many ways as you can. Do what makes your loved one comfortable. If you’ve known them for years, you likely know some of their favorite things – the movies, foods, and activities that make them feel at home. You don’t have to spend every penny on them, but the little things can add up. Let your loved one know how much they mean to you.

 

If you suspect a loved one is being abused, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline online or by phone at 1-800-799-7233.

 

Isabell Agumbah is a strong advocate against domestic violence. To find out more about domestic abuse, visit her website.