2020 has had a toll on all of us. We’re incredibly proud of our community for continuously stepping up to the plate and being a city that is centered on caring. With COVID-19 still spiking, we understand that most nonprofits cannot accept in-person volunteers and that many of you still have concerns about being in public places. We also understand how hard this year has been on many financially. This holiday season, we thought we would introduce 12 ways you can give back outside of the traditional volunteer and monetary donations. These will be ideas you can do from your home or mobile device and at little or no cost to you. Check out our ideas below – and keep in mind these don’t just have to be seasonal ways of giving!
1 – Reach Out to Someone you Love
The first way is incredibly easy! For this day of giving, we’re challenging you to text, call, message, write, draw, or however it is that you express yourself – to start a conversation. Maybe it’s a friend you’ve lost touch with, maybe it’s a family member you won’t get to see this holiday season – you still have the power to let them know how much they are cared for! In a year filled with isolation, it’s always nice to hear a familiar voice, reminisce on stories, and have a laugh. You never know who might need to hear it most.
2 – Choose an Organization to Support Through Amazon Smile
Hello, my fellow Amazon Shoppers! Now, obviously stopping ourselves from online shopping hasn’t been the hardest part of 2020, but it’s definitely up there. If you haven’t already converted to ONLY using Amazon Smile when you’re doing your purchasing, please do! It’s an easy way to give back by doing something you’re already doing. Amazon Smile is even available through the app – make sure to choose a cause you’re passionate about and then finish off your Christmas shopping!
3 – Plant a Garden for Your Community
This one is inspired by a RecognizeGood Legend from 2018, Ian McKenna, who was recently one of the top 5 finalists for TIME’s Kid of the Year. When he saw that he had classmates that went hungry, he took the initiative to begin his own garden and donate what he produced. We think this is an incredible way to test your green thumb, fill your time, and donate much-needed fruits and vegetables (a resource hard to get from your traditional foodbanks). If you need any tips on where to start, what to grow, or where to donate your plants, we can definitely help!
4 – Spread Holiday Cheer
With another socially-distanced holiday upon us, reaching out to others is more important than ever. Positive messages can go a long way and we encourage you to spend time writing holiday cards to pass out to whomever you think might need one. Inspired by Mission Accomplished‘s annual holiday tradition of writing cards for those in need – this could be a children’s hospital, a retirement home in your area, or those experiencing homelessness. Be thoughtful and caring in your messaging and be sure to call ahead before showing up at an organization – some of them will have guidelines on what can be said and brought in. Get creative, get writing, and spread some cheer!
5 – Clean Up Your Community
This is our first one that requires you to leave home, but you don’t have to go far! Do you have a park, trail, or any patch of grass near you? Unfortunately, chances are there is litter amidst that area. We’re asking you to grab a friend and a trash bag to do a nice, neighborhood stroll to pick up any garbage you see on the way. Now that the weather is cooler and we’re all aching to do some cardio to combat the holiday eating, everyone (including Mother Earth) can benefit by having a cleaner community.
6 – Donate your talent
Hey, you! With the talent! Donate it! Okay, but seriously. Whether it’s graphic design, storytelling, knitting, photography, etc. – use your talent for GOOD! Nonprofits are always looking for a helping hand to bring their mission to light. With funding going back to their cause, this is where you can come in and save the day. It truly doesn’t get any better than using your passions to help others. Go ahead and bookmark volunteermatch.org (nationwide!) to see where your skills are needed today!
7 – Let go of what you don’t need
It’s been a while since Marie Kondo was trending, but her message is still alive and well. Spend some time going through your belongings and decipher what you truly need. What can you let go of, what isn’t in use, what can you donate that will benefit others? There are always drives for books, clothes, electronic gadgets, and more that can positively impact our community. Unsure of where you can donate your items? Send us a message, we can help connect you with someone in need!
8 – Find a Browser Extension that Gives Back
If you’re like us, we always have dozens and dozens of tabs and windows open in our browser. Tabs For A Cause is a free, downloadable extension you can add to your internet experience that collects “hearts” each time you open a new tab. You then use these accumulated hearts to make a donation to one of their chosen charities that do things like prove clean water, build libraries, fight hunger, and so much more. Currently, each person that recruits a friend to download the extension allows a new tree to be planted. What are you waiting for? Let’s get planting for GOOD – click HERE to start your download AND plant one tree.
9 – Use What You Have
Okay, we understand this one isn’t for everyone, but it is something to consider! Blood donations have been increasingly crucial in saving lives, yet due to the pandemic, the number of regular donors has dropped. Did you know that you can even host your own blood drive (virtual too!)? Whether it be a group of friends, co-workers, or neighborhood drive – gather some healthy folks and give back! If blood donation isn’t your thing, consider double-checking that you’re an organ donor. New moms with an abundance of breast milk? See if there’s a milk bank near you where you can drop off the excess. Are you like me and you’re way behind on haircuts this year? Locks of Love would love to help you with that!
10 – Follow a nonprofit and help share their story
This one is for our fellow nonprofits! A lot of behind the scenes for each nonprofit is continuous fundraising. This money is often channeled back into the cause and not on traditional marketing and advertising, causing a HUGE reliance on word of mouth. We encourage you to follow the organizations that resonate with you, share their stories, subscribe to their newsletter, and attend their events (plus it will be a refreshing change of pace from your normal feed, we promise!). There’s always something awesome going on, make sure you don’t miss out on ways to get involved and tell your friends all about it. We recommend starting at Amplify ATX to find your nonprofit perfect match!
11 – Find an Online Game That Gives Back
If you’re into trivia and games, this one is for you! Freerice.com (also available in app form) is the new way to stimulate your brain as you answer questions over geography, vocabulary, math, and even coronavirus facts! For each answer you get right, their sponsors send the cash equivalent of 5 grains of rice to the World Food Programme. To date, 202 BILLION grains have been donated to those in need. You can even start some friendly competition – all for a good cause! Stop feeling bad about screen time and use your device for GOOD.
12 – Make a Sustainable Plan
This one is easy and something we can always improve on. Think about what you’re doing each day and how you could create less waste, recycle more frequently, use less water, and lower your carbon footprint. This is a great one to take into 2021 as we reflect and choose our resolutions. Make a plan to carpool more, turn off lights when you leave the room, REMEMBER THOSE TOTE BAGS WHEN YOU GO TO HEB, or any of the other great ideas on this list of over 100 ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
We hope these ideas have been helpful and you’ve gained insight into how you can truly make a change. It isn’t always easy finding the time and money to be able to truly do ALL the things you wish you could do to help others, but we can all do a little bit each day, creating a much wider impact. Happy holidays to everyone!