The end of the year is quickly approaching (feels weird to say, doesn’t it?) and it is a time when many people are thinking about donating to noble causes and charitable giving. In fact, over a third of all donations happen at the very end of the year. 

Of course, we don’t want to discourage anyone from giving to the organizations that do the good work that needs to be done. Nonprofits rely on financial support to be able to carry out their missions and help people. Finding causes you are passionate about and donating to the groups whose work you support is extremely important. 

But when you are thinking about how you can make a difference, do not underestimate the effect of your literal participation. As in you getting involved and pitching in. Walking dogs, delivering meals, calling bingo at a community center — there is a lot you can do, and a lot of reasons to do it. Let’s look at two that are very compelling.

1. Getting Involved Is Good for Your Community

America has a million and a half charitable nonprofits that provide food, shelter, care, education, and inspiration to people of every age, gender, race, and socioeconomic status, from one side of the country to the other. When you give your time and make an impact, your engagement adds to the fabric of your community and society. 

Meals on Wheels makes it possible for immobile seniors and others to eat — and it is because of the volunteers who deliver the food. There are almost 4,000 animal shelters in the United States and for many of the animals, the people who give their time are the only contact they receive. Those two examples are not even the tip of the iceberg. So, does showing up matter? It matters big time.

2. Getting Involved Is Good for You

Giving back to your community isn’t simply good for your community, it is also good for you. Being of service to others provides fulfillment and enrichment that reaches down into the cockles of your heart. In fact, some evidence shows that donating your time to charitable causes is actually physically good for your heart, helping to relieve stress and a host of other benefits. 

And if you simply want to feel good — and the headlines suggest that many people do — find a cause and get active. When you make a positive impact and you see the result that it has, the whole experience provides a sense of purpose and accomplishment that can influence your brain in a way that elevates your mood, spirit, and outlook on life.  

How Will You Give Back? 

As you think about ways to get involved and give back to your community, ask yourself what you are passionate about. Often there are needs within the community that correspond with your interests, and that makes it even easier to get involved. And if you need suggestions, contact us. We have our ear to the ground in the O’Fallon area and can provide ideas.