If you can take a moment to escape the hustle and bustle of the season you may find a way to combine celebrations, gift giving and support for nonprofits that are important to you and your family. You can put the busyness of the season in perspective by spending the afternoon with your children volunteering at a local hospital, food bank, senior center, or veterans home. When considering what to give, consider underwriting a child's pre-K education by giving to a program that had their funds cut this year. You'll be giving a gift that will make an impact for a lifetime. You can make that gift in honor of a family member. Other ideas include purchasing gloves or socks in bulk to give to people who are homeless in your community. Spend an afternoon making tasty sandwiches and share them with people who are hungry.
Talk with your faith leader, college representative or another trusted person "in-the-know" to find out which out-of-state (or out-of-country!) college students need a home for the holidays and open your home and heart. If your neighbor is in need, consider purchasing a gift card she can use at a local grocery store. This is an ideal time for a gift to the food bank.
Gifts to scholarship funds are easily made on-line and are more important than ever as so many students are losing access to Parents PLUS loans. Give to help those half-way around the world by supporting victims of the typhoon in the Philippines. If you are thinking of purchasing a pet for your child, consider adopting one from your local nonprofit animal rescue or ASPCA. Many nonprofits publish beautiful calendars – consider giving one as a gift. Purchase your Christmas tree from a nonprofit and holiday cards from UNICEF.
Most importantly, sit down as a family and share the gratitude you experience. Then find a way to give in ways that speak to your hearts.
Copyright 2013 – Mel and Pearl Shaw
Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of "Prerequisites for Fundraising Success." They position nonprofits for fundraising success. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com.