5 Ways to Give Back to Your Community for Those in Need

Thinking of ending your year on a good note? Why not consider some activities that will allow you to give back to your community? If you are among those prone to year-end depression, you can get a head start at inoculating yourself from those blues. Research frequently shows that giving in its various forms makes us happier than being on the receiving end.

From being a home health aide to volunteering at a local shelter, the actions you take can not only make you happy, but make others happy too.

Here are some ways that you can give back that will put a bounce in your step and a smile on someone’s face.

1. Hold a jar collection for a local cause.

Do you have a favorite local charity? Perhaps you are passionate about caring for the elderly, or taking care of abandoned animals? Whatever your pet charity is, set up a collection at your place of business. You may need to ask for permission first. But most bosses will be accommodating, so long as the collection basket is not an eye sore and is in an appropriate place.

Do you want to collect donations? But are you unsure of which charity to support? Look up online directories for local charities. You want to make sure that your collections go to a cause that you believe in and one with specific goals for funds received.

2. Volunteer your skills.

Does your town have a local community center? Do they allow for teaching classes? If so, you are in business. Offer to teach a class. If you are social media savvy, help set up the social media accounts for small businesses. Or for elderly neighbors who want to start but don’t know how.

Don’t have a community center that offers free classes in your town? Do not let that stop you. You can start a wave of free classes through your initiative. Place an ad in a newspaper letting people know what is on offer. Provide people who are looking to re-enter the workforce with needed skills that will give them a boost that will help them start off well.

3. Visit your elderly neighbors.

Do you know which of your elderly neighbors could use an extra hand around the house? After a certain age, house upkeep becomes a physically straining task. And if the senior has no children in the area, aspects of their environment could become a hazard.

Start off with a friendly “getting to know you” visit. If you are already planning a weekend drive, ask if he or she wants to join. Feel out what they would most appreciate without straining your new relationship. Too much too soon may feel uncomfortable on both sides, and may not be something you can maintain on the long haul. So make sure that what you offer is doable for you beyond a one-time occurrence. Loneliness is a serious problem among seniors. So even though you might not feel that it is doing a lot, a simple conversation on a regular basis could be just what he or she needs.

4. Hold a charity drive.

A successful charity drive goes beyond simply collecting a large amount of donations. Rather, success is measured by whether or not the drive fulfilled the needs of the charity it was trying to help. Ask for specifics about what the charity needs. What items do they not want you to collect? Since a majority of the collected goods will be used items, does the charity have guidelines about the condition of the goods they can accept?

After determining what is most needed by the charity, create flyers and promos with that info listed. The Corporation for National & Community Service provides these and other great tips on how to make your charity drive a success.

5. Become educated in local events.

Understanding the needs of your community starts with awareness of what is going on locally. Attending community events is a great way to hear the latest news and stay abreast of issues. The more informed you are of what is going on, the more you will be able to attune what you can offer to where there is a need. The holidays are a time when communities often host a Christmas or Thanksgiving themed gathering. Check your local newspaper or website for event listings.

Invest in your community through activities that give back. And you will find your joy multiplied as you head into the next year.