After several years in the nonprofit sector, I have seen numerous people start their “year of giving” and then lose steam by mid February. I admire that people want to dedicate one of their precious gifts, time, to a cause; but, I think most people go about it the wrong way. Here are some tips to make your year of giving a productive one.

  • No One Is Judging You: The cause of choice, your time commitment, and your donations are your business. There isn’t a “Master of Giving” who is comparing you to other people. You don’t have to be a superhuman to be a caring human.
  • Time or Money: Do you want to give money or time? Decide right away; and, be firm. Nonprofits will try (shoot we gotta) to get you to do both. Decide if you are going to make large donations once or twice a year or small monthly donations. Decide how much time you can give. That will help you determine which organization you can help.
  • Figure Out Your Cause/Passion: Don’t work with youth if college kids are your jam. Don’t give to a STEM program that works with kids just during the summer, if you want to be in a classroom. I suggest writing down three causes you are passionate about, then narrowing it down. This allows you to really know where you want to give to.
    • Example: education, pro-choice, Latina professional development
      • Education: Youth, literacy, college readiness.
      • Pro-Choice: Sex education, funding for Planned Parenthood
      • Latina Professional Development: Latina circles, latinas in college.
  • Research and Interview: Research the organizations you want to give to. Call them and ask poignant questions. You want to make sure their organizational structure, values, and mission align with you.
  • Have Fun: Enjoy your time. It shouldn’t have to be work.

Giving back to humanity, in any shape, betters your community.

Hugs and Smiles,
Nicole