Being a part of a community can really make or break us, in both our personal and professional lives. They can provide a sense of security, belonging, and a support network for the times when we really need them. Regardless of whether you work for the local community, within it, or outside to support it, it’s always going to be there for you. Thus, it would make sense that you may want to do something to give back to the community.
Of course, knowing what to do to give back to the community is a different story. It isn’t always easy to determine the best way to go about returning the favor, and there may be many ideas that you have had that don’t quite cut it. To help out, here are four ideas for ways to give back to the community.
The beliefs of Howard Fensterman, Executive Partner of Long Island Law Firm Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman, Eisman, Formato, Ferrara & Wolf, LLP, is that he, along with his colleagues, should “give back to the community” through charity. Charity, in Mr. Fensterman’s case, is about more than simply donating money to a cause. Howard Fensterman donates his time and expertise to his nominated causes as a way to see his community move forward. To date, Fensterman, who applies what little free time he has when not practicing law to help the community, has provided much support to two main charities within the New York area. These are the Chabad of Port Washington, of which he sits on the Board of Directors, and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America Long Island Chapter, with which he is a member of the Board of Trustees.
The Chabad of Port Washington is currently trying to expand its campus by 13,000 sq. ft., and so Fensterman, an attorney, has been able to apply his knowledge of the law to spearhead that campaign. Through fundraisers and negotiations, the Chabad is well on its way to achieving this goal. Additionally, with the help of his son Jordan, Mr. Fensterman contributes to the teaching that the Chabad offers, benefitting the children and, on a wider scale, the Jewish communities.
No one is saying that you need to be practicing health law to sit on the Board of Directors of a Healthcare charity, just that if you can apply your knowledge in a way that can help a cause, volunteer to become a decision-maker with them and provide your abilities appropriately.
If time is something that you don’t have the luxury of, then there are short term options you can take in order to give back to the community. Whilst charitable donations would never go unappreciated, maybe you can go one step further and organize a fundraiser for a local cause. The method which you choose to raise funds is entirely up to you; it can be a family fun day, a marathon event, or in this current pandemic climate, perhaps you could organize an online games room or bingo!
The cause is what determines if people will donate, and by how much too. A study in the UK showed that people are more likely to get behind a cause if it benefits someone they know, which is a trait that can be applied to the United States as well. It’s not because people are selfish—it’s just because people like to see how their donations and charity have helped first hand.
If you want to really give back to the community, then find a cause that will not only allow people to donate and see the results of their donations but ultimately makes a difference in the long run. Raising money to help a deserving student to attend the educational institution that was at first deemed out of reach without financial aid is one suggestion. In this regard, technical training can go further, as the student can apply such competence knowledge back into the community.
As an example, if you organize a fundraiser that raises money to help a prospective student on to an Automotive and Diesel Technology Program, an associate of applied science degree at NYADI, you will help one person in the short term. Later, when they’re a qualified diesel mechanic and technician, having spent the time learning everything about truck mechanics to automotive electronic system components, then they can help much more in the local community over time. Regardless of whether they’re looking over the brakes of a truck, or advising the local governments on how to improve the state’s transportation industry, that little charity event that you organized will have given back to the community in a huge way.
Have you ever sat in church and wondered where those little donation envelopes that are collected have come from? Most churches don’t have the greatest amount of funding, relying instead on the money in these church offering envelopes to get by. Some don’t even bother with the luxury of having offering envelopes of any description. An offering envelope, whilst not essential, is often used to help keep some donators to the church anonymous. To others, tithe envelopes with a passage from the Holy Bible or personal message are simply a pleasant way to give money in lieu of putting it directly into the collection plate as it passes. It’s a small symbol of professionalism in the same vein that a letterhead or a personalized card design provides.
Taking the cue from that, rather than donating money directly to the church, perhaps you can be the one to provide the church offering envelopes to them, saving the church both time and money that they can spend on other ventures. A quick online search will direct you to the website of Cokesbury, which sells church supplies including collection baskets, plates, boxes, and tithe envelopes that you can purchase and donate.
Sometimes, even when you’re not involved in the planning, execution, or the cause of the fundraising event or charity drive, you can still give back to the community in your own way. If you invest a little time in networking, you can help others in their charitable and community event efforts by spreading the word and letting the local populace know.
Social media platforms and global emails are useful for this type of advertising, but a more helpful and intrinsic way of giving back to the community would be to make it a regular thing. Maybe you can come up with a newsletter of your own and help make the local community aware of events that will bring them together. Alternatively, you can apply to the local newspaper and see if they would accept written contributions and go into advertising the local events that way.
If someone from the community does well, you can use your platform to rally around them and cheer them on. If there’s an unfortunate emergency or natural disaster heading your way, then you can be the source of information that tells everyone where relief can be found or of places to reunite loved ones.
All-in-all, giving back to the community is a matter of simply being present and talking to other community members. From there, you can make contacts and form ideas on how to best give back to them. Whether it’s long term or short term assistance, a little bit of community spirit goes a long way.