Non-profits do such important work in our communities, providing for under-represented groups, hosting community nights, and all around improving our world. Because non-profit organizations are under-resourced, finding ways to sustainably give to the year-round work they do can be a challenge. The question is how to support the goals of non-profits while acknowledging that their services are not only important around the holiday season, but throughout the entire year.
Fortunately, there are many ways to support:
Stay connected — Finding causes that are important to you personally is crucial in being more than just a one-time donator. Staying connected to non-profits helps you follow their projects until the finale, which makes a huge difference in their long term success. If it’s an issue that is close to your heart, staying connected helps you see your role in making the world a better place, one step at a time.
Donate more than just a check — Most non-profits are under-funded, so it’s almost certain that any money or resources you donate will be put to good use. But no resource is more important than community engagement. Your time and energy will go a long way in making sure they achieve their goals. It will probably pay off for you too, because stepping outside your comfort zone can lead to great connections and more ideas for community improvement.
Enable entrepreneurship — No one wants to support non-profits who don’t have sustainable models for continuing their work. Most successful non-profits have models for outreach and entrepreneurship that don’t create dependency but instead help the communities they are involved with to become entrepreneurs themselves. Supporting whole communities is a great way to make sure your dollars get traction when you give.
Support leaders — The crisis facing non-profits today isn’t just that they are strapped for cash, but that many local non-profits are in dire need of new and effective leadership. (See here for more info.) Bridging the connection between non-profits who are training leaders for community and professional improvement is a great way to give year-round.
Start with culture — We are fortunate to live in a time when the culture around non-profit work is changing. Today, people who work for non-profits are well-respected in certain circles but that’s not true for all of society. Encouraging and respecting the work that people do in the non-profit sector is an important culture shift that helps non-profit organizations as a whole. Look here for a list of the best non-profits to work for in 2018.
It’s great to support non-profits beyond a one-time donation, and luckily for us there’s lots of ways to do so.