December is the time of year where giving takes a forefront place in our minds. We think about giving to close friends and family members as well those in our community. If you’re a business owner—or even if you’re not, here are some ways that you can give back during the holiday season or any time of year.
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – Luke 6:38
Be an event sponsor. If you own a business or are a decision maker in your business, consider sponsoring all or a portion of a community event. A 5K, golf tournament, or government sponsored event like a tree lighting or July 4th fireworks. If you’re not in a position to sponsor the event financially, offer your time or organizational expertise. Many of these events are organized by a skeleton crew of volunteers. They always need help.
Offer a matching donation. Businesses can offer to match any donation to a charitable cause that they choose. Individuals can teach their children how to be charitable too. Chores around the house could be paid and then matched, encourage them to ask for donations from other family members or friends that you would match. There are a lot of creative ways to use the incentive of matching to do good in your community.
Discounts for those “in the club”. Businesses can offer a special discount for anybody who is a member of or has contributed to a certain organization. Individuals can’t give the discount but they can be the person who gave. Giving should always be done with the purest of intentions but if you can get some of your donation back through a discount at another store, that’s more money you have available to give.
Be the example. If you’re a business owner, boss, manager, or somebody else in a leadership role, be the example. Organize an event where your team takes part in an event, volunteers at a shelter or soup kitchen, or takes meals to the elderly. Be the first to sign up or arrange to do it on a weekday when and make it part of their salary. Helping those less fortunate changes the giver as much as the receiver. Don’t underestimate the lessons your team or family will learn by making the act of giving back a habit.
Donate resources. Businesses may have a conference room that is available for meetings. Offer those to non-profits or community groups that need meeting space. Individuals can make family events out of volunteering. Stuff envelopes, make signs, or bake something. Non-profits are looking for volunteers to offer up their resources. Regardless of who you are or your financial situation, you have resources that are valuable. Your time and your talents are just as important as money.
Giving is only giving when it comes from a pure heart. If you’re doing it for publicity, for somebody to give you an award, or because you feel an obligation, you have the wrong heart. If nobody knew that you were the one who gave, would you be ok with that? If not, it’s going to be less than satisfying. It will feel like work.
But when giving is done without any expectations of something in return, it becomes something that not only blesses the person receiving the gift, but it changes you from the inside out—and it feels really good!