Finding your cause

Giving back (link) isn’t just about throwing a check or two during the holidays. Most of us are pretty fortunate. We have a roof over our heads, a job, and friends/family who care about us. That in itself is more than a lot of people (and animals).
Unfortunately, our lives get pretty busy and we lose touch with time each day and week and surmise that we don’t have enough time to volunteer or give back regularly. It may seem difficult to carve out that time, but it is possible.
A few ways I’ve found time (or ability to donate) for causes that I truly care about throughout the year:
  • Creating opportunities to give back in the workplace: since grad school I’ve been one of the leaders of volunteer efforts within organizations and making it easier for people to volunteer and/or donate regularly. For example, in my last job I ran the volunteer club with a partner and we made it so there was an opportunity to volunteer or donate each month. We would think of different opportunities that people could be passionate about from animals to elderly to children to the environment. Not everyone cares about the same thing so it’s important to provide diverse options. In addition, we flip flopped from volunteering (during work hours vs after work) and donating a small amount. Sometimes to provide incentive we raffled off small prizes in order to encourage people to give a little more. It was not only fun, but we were able to help many different causes, which was pretty awesome.
  • Volunteering with friends: Lately there are lots of ways to give back, such as running for a cause. It’s even more fun to gather a group of friends and run together. Not only is it motivating, but having a little competition to see who can raise the most and/or run the fastest creates inspiration to do more than you may otherwise.
  • Make it personal: The most rewarding, in my humble opinion, is finding a cause that you personally can resonate with … each day, week, and month. Something you are excited to support because you truly care about. Whether it’s a disease you want to help cure, being a big brother or sister to a younger child, elderly care, or pet adoption, there is something for everyone. And the best part, there are so many ways to give back — you really can’t say you don’t have time. You just need to find the best way to fit it into your life.
Still not sure what your passionate cause may be? Try out a few until you find one that fits you. Maybe you don’t have one – maybe you have two or three. That’s pretty awesome too.

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