How to Give Back to Your Community in the New Year

the earth surrounded by joined hands
February 2020

The excitement of the New Year has come and gone, and while some New Year's resolutions have already been set to the side like old magazines, there is still plenty of time to look ahead and decide what you hope to accomplish this year. Why not take this time, while we're still in the beginning of the year, and do something to help make your community a better place?

Donate your time

There are countless ways to use your free time to help others. Most cities operate homeless shelters and soup kitchens, both of which are almost definitely in need of volunteers. Similarly, even if the holidays are past, the beginning of a new year can be a very lonely time for people whose families are away. Consider spending some time visiting with senior citizens in a senior center or hospice. Interacting with someone other than a doctor for even a few hours a week can raise spirits and give the elderly something to look forward to. Additionally, you might get to hear some incredible stories from their lives.

It’s not just people that could benefit from a little bit of help in 2020. Animal shelters are always looking for volunteers to help care for abandoned pets, run adoption events, and assist any visitors. You can also sign up to be a part of a local wildlife preservation group, parks and recreation board, or environmental conservation organization. If you’re looking for something a bit less structured, you can always take it upon yourself to pick up garbage on the side of the road or in public spaces.
Or, perhaps your workplace offers volunteer opportunities. At Waukesha State Bank, our employee volunteer group, Helping Hearts, coordinates these types of activities for bank employees.

Donate your money

Between work, family, and other obligations, you may not have the time to volunteer at a shelter or clean up your city. Thankfully, there are countless nonprofit organizations and national causes that accept charitable donations so they can fund work on the issues you care about. You can donate money to a museum, local arts group, women’s shelter, or virtually anything else. The other major benefit to contributing money rather than time is that the cause you support doesn’t have to be local. You can contribute to cancer research, humanitarian efforts overseas, and disaster relief anywhere in the world. The result may not be as immediately noticeable, but you’re still helping to make the global community better for everyone.

Spread the word

If you find yourself strapped for both time and money, you may feel like you have nothing to offer, but you do. Spreading information to the far reaches of the globe has never been as easy as it is today, and you can use that enormous network to raise awareness of a cause you feel passionate about. People can’t support a movement or charity if they haven’t heard of it, so by telling the world about a way they can help to make a difference, you are making a difference too.

Volunteering time, donating money, and raising awareness can have a real, tangible effect on your community and the world itself. Regardless of how you do it, make 2020 the year about giving back to your community and making the world a better place.