“Giving back” is the new, sexy buzz phrase these days – EVERYONE wants a piece of the philanthropy pie. It’s on the nightly news broadcasts, in every blog, and if you work at a non-profit like me, everything you do is about giving back.
But I noticed that “giving back” often has the same connotations as shopping for the best Christmas presents – how much money can I give and to how many organizations?
To me, giving back isn’t about racking up a list of the 10 charities you made a donation to – because then it ends up reading like your other shopping list: “Oh, I saved a child for $15 here, bought a water jug for $5 there…” When I think about giving back, so many “old-fashioned” methods come to mind. Here are a few I like:
- Cooking dinner for your local fire/police station (the firefighters by my parents’ neighborhood have come to love our Cajun dishes)
- Instead of stuffing last season’s coat/scarf in the back of the closet – donate it to a shelter
- Bring old blankets and towels to an animal shelter
- Hand someone walking in the rain your umbrella
- Pick up an extra latte for your door man/woman, front desk person, security guard, etc.
- Offer to walk the dog/cook/pick up the mail/go grocery shopping for your elderly neighbor
- Mail a holiday greeting card to someone who isn’t expecting it
- Drop off lunch for someone with a busy schedule
- For book lovers, make homemade bookmarks with their favorite quotes and photos on them (I did this for my dad – he loved it!)
- Call someone you love – even if they were supposed to call you first.
- Loan some of your favorite books and movies (happy, comforting ones!) to a friend who can’t make it home for the holidays
- Tell the people in your life that you love them. Works every time.
What are some of the ways you are giving back this year?