3 Ways to Give Back That Don't Require a Financial Investment
Written by Seyi Tinubu
The desire to help one another is a deeply human need, and now more than ever that help is sorely needed. Even so, many people directly impacted by the current public-health/economic crisis are not in a position to give financially. The need may be great, but everyone must also take care of their own families. With tens of millions unemployed and layoffs continuing at a record rate, no one truly knows what the future may hold.
The good news is that not all help needs to be financial, and there are plenty of ways to give back without opening your checkbook or pulling out your credit card. Here are three ways to give of yourself even when finances are tight.
1. Give your time
With unemployment at record levels and millions sheltering in place, time has become an abundant commodity. If you want to give of yourself and help those in need, offering your time is a wonderful and heartfelt choice. If you have a specific expertise, go out of your way to provide actionable advice to your clients or others in your industry, giving them the tools they need to survive and emerge stronger on the other side.
You can provide the same valuable advice and guidance to local businesses struggling to survive in the age of forced shutdowns and rapidly evolving business models. Working with vendors is another way to give back, helping those organizations adapt their supply chains and find their own ways to aid the community.
Now that face-to-face meetings are forbidden, you can host webinars to stay in touch and share your expertise with clients, local businesses, vendors, peers and others. If you prefer an auditory format, podcasts are a great way to connect and communicate during the current pandemic. You can do guest spots on popular podcasts or create your own customized broadcast.
2. Donate your clutter
The need for household goods and tangible products has never been greater. With so many out of work and struggling to make ends meet, even a small purchase could be out of reach.
If you have been doing some decluttering while sheltering at home, as so many of us have, why not donate your finds to local charities? Start by going through your closet and picking out clothes you no longer wear; you may not need them, but someone else surely will. You can also donate your old furniture and household items, as well as excess stock from your pantry. Local charities and food banks will be happy to accept your generosity.
3. Be a good, mindful Samaritan
Now that we are all alone together, we need to take care of one another. Loneliness and lack of purpose are already being deeply felt, and many mental-health experts expect rates of suicide and depression to increase markedly as the shutdown progresses. If you want to do something good, something as simple as a smile or a phone call can effect so much. Now is the time to check in on your elderly neighbors, call coworkers you have not seen since the shutdown and reach out to those in need.
Now is also the time to thank those on the front lines, from the doctors and nurses treating the sick to the essential workers stocking the local grocery stores and retail establishments. When you do venture out to stock up on essentials, take a minute to express your gratitude and thank those men and women for their time and service.
Or, the next time you have groceries delivered or order in a pizza, go out of your way to thank the delivery driver. You can express your heartfelt gratitude from six feet away, and your kindness could help make someone else's day (rhyme intended).
Many people have been leaving their lights on in honor of first responders and medical personnel, and you can join in on that outward show of gratitude. You can also take more forceful action, like donating takeout meals to hospital workers.
As a business owner, you can give back in your own way, donating products with every order. If your essential business sells coffee, for instance, you could offer to donate a bag for each one is ordered online or picked up curbside. Even if you do not have a business of your own, you can still choose to patronize companies that are running such give-back programs. If your favorite restaurant has been forced to close its doors, buying gift cards now can keep them afloat and give you a tasty treat once the dining room reopens.
In this new world, giving back is more important than ever, and you can find ways to help those around you even if your own finances are running low. You can make an impact.