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The How-To Lounge: Giving Back

Everyday growing up my mom would ask me if I had done something kind for another person. And although I always thought answering that question was a real drag, over time I found that I looked for ways to help people so I’d have something to share with her. While I’d like to say I still do this, the truth is sometimes I get so caught up in the worries of my everyday life I forget that there’s a whole bevy of serious issues out there plaguing the world. If you’re like me and looking for an opportunity to give back and do some real good, then just


  • If you have some money to spend, but not a lot of time, donating to a charity is a great way to give back. There are so many wonderful charities always in need of donations. Check to see listings for various causes that might interest you.
  • Your local community is probably rife with non-profit organizations looking for support. I’ve spent time volunteering in elementary schools, and for an hour or two a week, it’s an absolutely gratifying experience. Check online or even on fliers in coffee shops for what’s going on in your own neck of the woods.
  • Consider using your particular skill set to help out a cause. If you’re into graphic design, offer to design a pamphlet for a group you care about. If you’re a fabulous writer, look into opportunities for writing grants. Not only does this let you do something good, it’s also great for your resume.
  • Start something on your own. If you want to do something on a smaller scale, come up with a small goal and get a group together to accomplish it. Start a giving tree at your office or ask all your friends to adopt-a-family at the holidays.
  • If you just don’t have the gusto to go big right now, even the smallest things in your life can make a world of difference in someone else’s. Consider donating your old shoes and your excess pantry goods, always recycle, and finally, don’t forget how far just a bit of compassion and kindness can go.


Join The Conversation
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 8 years
And I love doing the adopt a child thing at Christmas. It would mean so much to me if someone would do that for me if I needed it. Some of those children are only asking for simple things that don't cost a lot of money at all. One year I picked a girl who only wanted cute socks so I got her cute socks, regular socks, lipgloss and a few other small things like that. It cost me less than $20.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 8 years
I give all my unwanted stuff to Goodwill and I spend a lot of money there too. I also do my part for the environment by picking up trash on my walks and really that is helping us all.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
when i was younger, i feel like it was a lot easier for me to do something to give back since i had more time and now i feel like i'm slacking a bit. i do try to do what i can - i support the initiatives that my company does - and if they have a fundraiser or volunteer event then i try to really participate when i can. i think that there are even a lot of online things that you can do - which may not necessarily be the same as donating your time in person that can help. not everything is brought back to giving money - you can do a lot online that's with your time, that helps different causes. i always hear about people who create funds and organizations with ideas that they've come up with to help their communities and i kind of feel like that could be a great start since you don't have to impact the world - if you impact a few people then that's still giving and it's a good thing
italianblonde italianblonde 8 years
Just recently I realized how much I miss volunteering all the time!! I went to a catholic high school, and one of our classes was Service and it was fun to go to a bunch of different places to help people out. I haven't done as much since, but my favorite thing to do is 'adopt' families at Christmas and make sure the kids have something to open!! Especially when I think back at the tons of gifts I got over the years, and they barely get socks. And aww I would love to work at the SPCA like runningesq mentioned, but I probably would end up falling in love and keeping them all!! :)
runningesq runningesq 8 years
Awh, thanks bella! We enjoy it! It's sometimes hard to give them back, but it's like having a perpetual kitten. Our next batch (coming this week) is four feral babies.
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
runningesq, that is giving a great gift. Those kittens are getting love before they get into a loving home. That is a great gift in giving love.
runningesq runningesq 8 years
It's not helping PEOPLE, exactly, but my husband and I volunteer at our local SPCA -- and foster kittens until they are big and old enough to be adopted :)
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
Great post Dear. Most people don 't really realize that the time they volunteer, helping others through any means makes a real difference in that person's life. I have been doing a rotation of volunteer work on a pt bases for the last 3 years. I do a number of activities but the thing that really impacts me is teaching someone how to read, who has given up on themselves and others have. It is inspiration to see people move beyond their comfort zone and go beyond what they expected.
Muirnea Muirnea 8 years
Really good post!! If I was ever a mom, I would so use that idea on my kids (asking what nice thing they did every day)!! I'm not ever planning on having kids though, lol, oh well. But wonderful tips!! :)
Deidre Deidre 8 years
Awesome post, Dear. And very timely in the wake of Ike and all those people in Texas who need assistance! Thanks for your tips; I'll work on taking them to heart.
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