When it comes to participating in philanthropic endeavors, many people tend to give their good will to men during the holidays. However, issues such as homelessness, hunger, the environment, education, animal welfare and disease are year-round problems, so it’s always a good idea to be charitable. Encouraging your family to volunteer for causes on a regular basis is not only rewarding, but it’s a valuable learning experience for children. Generosity, appreciation, empathy, awareness and kindness are just a few of the many benefits that come with giving back no matter which route you choose.
Make face time a priority
Dropping a check in the mail is no doubt a generous move, but having face time with people in need can have a greater and long-lasting impact. While you have to look into the age restrictions that come with tasks like working in a soup kitchen, there are other options such as food drop-offs at homes or toy drop-offs in children’s hospitals where kids are allowed if accompanied with a parent.
Sign up for a fitness-themed fundraiser
You don’t need to sign up for a full marathon to make an impact. Even a short race provides an opportunity for the entire family do do something healthy together while raising money for a charitable organization. Philanthropic mud runs have taken off in recent years, an option that can be a fun alternative for both kids and parents. If running isn’t your thing, don’t worry. There are several options ranging from basketball to walking. Along with teaching your kids how to be charitable, they’ll also acquire team-building skills and self-confidence.
Turn a hobby into a charitable act
Many charities are accept DIY projects to give to people in need, or to use as a vehicle to raise funds. Whether it’s drawing, crocheting or taking photos, tap into some of your favorite organizations to see if your family’s services could be helpful. This is also a great family bonding activity that gets everyone away from electronics.
Give money to help end poverty
Money management is a great skill to teach kids early on in life, which should include how to budget for charity. Encourage your kids to set aside money from their allowance (and you do the same with your paycheck) for a donation to a different organization each month. Even a small amount of money has a huge impact in anything from providing medicine, sending a child to school, helping an animal or disaster relief.
Take a volunteer vacation
Taking a philanthropic vacation is a true life-changing experience. Many of the retreats available are designed to provide the traveler with the opportunity to help with anything from working in a clinic, to building a house, to assisting animals in exchange for free food and lodging.
Multitask with a home project
Decluttering your home feels great, but even more so when you can give your unused items to those in need. If the entire family pitches in, the variety of items you accumulate can help people of all ages. If making a drop-off isn’t convenient, schedule a pickup with a provider in your area. So the process isn’t overwhelming, make it a point to schedule a time for seasonal cleanup two to four times a year.
Studies show that people who give back are more apt to be positive, happy individuals who live a more meaningful life, so regularly involving your entire family with charitable endeavors couldn’t be a better idea. If you can’t volunteer, give when you can. Just remember that you’re eligible for a tax deduction if you give to an IRS-approved charity.