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Give back to your community

Date posted:  5/2/16 09:00:00 AM

Whether you are a business owner who wants to give a donation, or an individual who wants to support a favorite cause, there are many ways to contribute to your community. Unfortunately, giving back isn't always easy, which is especially true if your funds are low. However, no matter your financial situation, there are other ways you can contribute and techniques to help you save for donations.

Follow these tips for paying it forward:

Join a group 
Sometimes you can show you care by donating your time, energy and talents to a particular organization or group you feel passionate about. Whether you serve on a board of directors and kick-start fundraising events, or volunteer your time to raise awareness about a cause, a group is an active and cost-effective way to give back to your community.

Make sure you ask about any membership fees. Sometimes there is a small annual expense  that is used to support both the group and the cause the group is passionate about.

According to Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group, Forbes Magazine indicated many reasons why it's is beneficial to increase your community involvement by joining a nonprofit board. If you have skills in marketing, public relations, event planning or finances, taking your involvement to the next level provides an opportunity to use your skills toward a cause you are particularly passionate about.

In addition, you can volunteer to bolster your own skills. 

"Use the board to build your knowledge of a particular mission area and a specific skill set, but also as a platform to show your expertise and competence to influential people in the nonprofit and for-profit world," said Laura Gassner Otting, president of Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group. 

Volunteer at local schools 
When money is tight, your time is just as valuable, if not moreso. Money Crashers suggested spending time at a local school to help staff after school programs and other initiatives that keep students on the right track. 

Children are our future and investing time in them to cultivate emerging leaders is a fantastic way to contribute to the longevity and future of your community. Reach out to a local school and find out what the current needs are. There may be opportunities to tutor a student, coach a youth team or offer support in another way. 

Serve meals to others 
With the day-to-day stresses you might experience, it is easy forget how good you might actually have it. Millions of individuals suffer from hunger and homelessness across the U.S. Consider volunteering at a local meal program to prepare, serve and even share meals with those who need it most. 

Ask about different jobs available at the meal program and help out however you can. In addition, this is a great opportunity to use your talents and skills in a way that works well for the community. Do you have a talent in the kitchen? Ask about preparing a unique menu. What about experience in the medical field? Find out if there is an opportunity to serve the guests while they wait for a meal. Involving yourself in a way that uses your skills can have a substantial impact in your community. 

Host a yard sale 
When you are looking for extra money for a purchase you want to make, one way many individuals are able to gain access to cash is by selling the items they no longer need. Instead of using the profits for these sales for your own expenses, consider donating them to a charity of your choice. 

Make sure to let individuals know what you plan on using the proceeds for when they are looking at what you're selling. 

Register for a charity run 
Another way to give back while improving your health is to sign up to run at a charity race and ask friends and family members to donate on your behalf. Share information on social media to encourage everyone to give what they can to support the race's cause. 

Encourage others to give back 
You have more influence than you know. Use it to encourage others to volunteer their time, skills or money to causes in your community. If you own a business or manage a group of people, you can encourage them to volunteer as a group. Inc. noted that giving back as a group is a great way to improve morale and teamwork. 

In addition, there is always power in numbers, so getting more people to work toward a better tomorrow will better ensure goals are reached. 

Giving back doesn't always need to come in the form of a donation. When money is tight, you can still find ways to contribute to your community.