You don't need to be John D. Rockefeller to give back this season. Check out these 7 ways to give back without spending a dime!
Clean Out Your Closet
It's as simple as it sounds. Go through that closet of yours and do a quick sweep of what you don't use anymore. Bag it up and drop it off at your nearest Goodwill location.
We all know that Iowa winters are no joke, so even the smallest donation can help ensure that others stay warm. Plus, it's a great excuse to finally get that chore checked off your list!
This isn't a traditional way to give back, but it sure is effective! Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood, and unfortunately, there's a decline that occurs from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day since most tend to be busy with the holidays.
Sites like Life Serve Blood Center and others will provide you different locations around your area where you'll be able to donate blood. So, this year rather than donating gifts, donate the gift of life to those in need.
Whether it's a kid needing a mentor, or senior citizens needing a friend - volunteering is a great way to make a social impact in your community. By going to your local volunteer organizations or checking out sites like Volunteer Iowa, you can find various ways to make a difference in your community.
Your small act of volunteering can make a big difference this time of the year by spreading happiness to those who may feel forgotten. Our staff will be volunteering to ring bells for the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign this week in Cedar Rapids, North Liberty, and Coralville. If you see us out and about be sure to say, "Hello!"
Start a Food Drive
You don't need to spend to start a food drive. Start by going around to different restaurants and collecting whatever they're willing to donate.
Don't stop with only asking restaurants - put out signs and fliers throughout your community, reach out to local businesses, and ask your co-workers to look through their pantry. You'll be surprised at seeing that you're not alone in wanting to make a difference this year, most people just don't know how.
41 million people face hunger in the U.S. alone. Out of those 41 million, 13 million are children. Give your local community a platform to help make a change!
Join Local Organizations
While you might've read the title and automatically thought to yourself, "What's the difference between this and volunteering?" Let me explain.
Joining local organizations means you can offer your support to neighbors who might be going through rough times and are simply looking for moral support.
By becoming a regular member of an organization, you can inspire others and attract new members to help give back this season, and maximize your efforts.
One way of doing this is by using Meetup. Meetup is a platform where you can join your neighbors to learn something, share something, or do something. You can join groups like, "Metro Business Friends," or "The Mindful Living Meetup," which are both local groups located in central Iowa.
Who knows, maybe your acts of service will convince your neighbors into giving back this season, too!
Host Local Events
Use local restaurants/bars/clubs to promote events where proceeds can go directly to different organizations that'll help the less fortunate this holiday season.
Try going to some of your favorite hangout spots and speak to their management. Tell them how you'd like to host a karaoke night or some other type of engaging entertaining night.
By charging visitors a small entrance fee, you'll be able to collect funds to donate to your cause, while the establishment hosting the event can profit from extra customers. Just remember when speaking to these different businesses, explain that what you're offering will help improve their sales by increasing traffic through the business.
Ultimately a business owner is going to want to know how you'll improve their bottom line.
Adopt a Pet
While this may not be the most practical way to give back - it is very meaningful and helpful to the community. Visit local animal shelters around town, many of them having websites where you'll be able to look at all the different pets available for adoption.
Giving back doesn't have to be limited to people, it can also include our four-legged friends!
These are just a few creative ways to give back this holiday season, without having to go out and buy a gift. Sometimes the best gifts that one can get, are the ones that come with the right intentions.
So, whether it's donating your time, your blood, your shoes, or adopting a new furry best friend - take an unconventional route this year, and make a difference that'll last.