Do you want to make a difference but have no idea where to start? Or maybe you’ve heard stories about charity gone wrong, and your fear of perpetuating that problem holds you back from doing anything? This can be daunting to the point that you don’t do anything. Here are 4tips to help you give back to your community and know that you’ll make a difference
1. Work with a Trusted Organization
One of the hardest parts of getting started can be knowing which organization is doing good work, but you don’t have to figure this out on your own! Tap into resources around you by:
Checking out LCBC’s trusted community partners and global partners These organizations are making a difference locally and have already been vetted, so you can jump right in!
Talking to people you know about connections or recommendations they may have.
Viewing ratings of an organization on Charity Navigator, a non-profit with a mission that provides ratings to “shine a light on the cost-effectiveness and overall health of a charity’s programs, including measures of stability, efficiency, and sustainability. The metrics inform donors of not just where their dollars are going but what their dollars are doing.”
2. Volunteer Outside the Holidays
Around Thanksgiving and Christmas, many of us feel especially warm-hearted toward those in need and look for ways to give back. This isn’t a bad thing, but some organizations don’t have enough serve opportunities available to meet the higher demand.
They’re also often left with unfilled needs once the holiday fervor drops off. There are only so many positions available to serve Thanksgiving dinner at the local homeless shelter, while jobs like tutoring, office support, or maintenance projects have year-round demand.
Consider how you can get involved outside the holidays, and you may find more options available and make a bigger difference at the same time!
3. Ask Questions
Let the organization tell you what they need instead of assuming you know! Sometimes we have an incomplete understanding of the problem or the solution, and by getting curious we can learn from others’ expertise. Ultimately, by asking good questions, you’ll help better! Here are examples of questions to get you started:
- What are needed items and what do you have excess of?
- When is help needed and when do you have too much help?
- If you could get one dream granted, what would it be?
- What do you wish more people knew about the situation?
- What has already been done - successfully or unsuccessfully?
4. Consider Needs in Your Own Backyard
When we start thinking about making a difference, sometimes we feel like we need to do something huge for a foreign country, when there actually are needs in our own backyard!
Take a week to pray that God would open your eyes to needs around you that you can help meet, and then keep your eyes and ears open.
You might have an elderly neighbor who could use some company, a single parent struggling to taxi kids to sports commitments, a teacher, nurse, or other helping professional starving to be noticed and appreciated. As Mother Theresa said, “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”
Making a difference doesn’t have to be as daunting as you think. By taking these few simple steps, you can rest assured your efforts will make a positive impact in the world.
Keep your eyes open to needs next door, check out LCBC’s local and global partners, reach out to one that sparks your interest to ask more questions, and see what God does from there!