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Each year we (hopefully) take some time to celebrate the holidays and we reflect on all that we have in our lives. It is so easy to lose sight of the positive elements in our lives (great family, friends, job, home, etc.) when we get wrapped up in the day to day hustle and bustle. Thanksgiving thanksgiving-1796890_640offers us a time to do just that, which is why nonprofits capitalize on this time and donations surge between Thanksgiving and the New Year. This post is not about best practices in how nonprofits can cultivate more funders, but rather about the importance of giving itself. Nonprofit organizations serve a critical function in our lives, and it is important that we recognize that and determine the best ways to give back to those who serve those in need and/or offer much needed services.

  1. Donation of Time – Whether volunteering is a one-time occurrence or you choose to volunteer on a regular basis, these are all valuable to the organization. Volunteers can provide much needed services, especially on capital improvement projects that take place during the year (September 11th or Martin Luther King Jr. service days are two examples). I know that many nonprofits would cease to exist without volunteers providing much needed services on a continuous basis. You can also include your colleagues or family so that this can be a retreat or group activity for people of all ages and abilities.
  1. Donation of Skills – Each individual can offer some type of skill that a nonprofit can certainly use. Whether this be accounting, fundraising, graphic design, or even dancing or makeup designing, there is a nonprofit organization that will certainly find a way to leverage the use of pro bono support. In addition, serving on a nonprofit board is a great to provide long-term support to an organization about which you are passionate.
  1. Donation of Resources – In-kind donations of technology, furniture, space, food and other resources allow organizations to spend more funding on programs and services to clients rather than administrative costs. Many nonprofits would be thrilled to acquire new or gently used items to replace aging capital expenditures or equipment.
  1. Donation of Funding – Obviously, I would not be able to post such a blog without including fundraising. Whatever organization you choose, I strongly urge you to research and determine if the organization’s mission and services are of interest to you. I also suggest that you and also look them up on Charity Navigator and GuideStar to learn more about their capacity and impact, and review financial information. A long-term investment in one organization is worth more than distributing smaller amounts to several nonprofits.

Whatever you choose, think about the impact you want to have in the community and supporting a nonprofit (or several) that will allow you to feel that you are making a worthy investment. Ask yourself, how do you want to give this season?

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