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3 Ways to Give Back to Your Church and Community Around the Holidays

America consistently ranks as one of the three most generous nations in the world. Donations from lower income earners add up through a high volume of small monetary gifts, while the top one percent of U.S. earners contribute an impressive one-third of all charitable donations. According to Giving USA, an annual report on philanthropy, Americans gave an estimated $390.05 billion dollars to charities in 2016!

The holidays are a popular time to give monetarily, with goods, or with time through volunteer service. U.S. tax code incentivizes charitable giving through deductions, and wise taxpayers take advantage of year-end giving. Naturally, the nonprofit community refers to the last few months of the year as “Giving Season,” and often relies on holiday contributions to stretch throughout the year.

Thanksgiving is a big race day for some Americans. There are hundreds of “turkey trots” happening around the country, and most of them contribute a portion of their proceeds to charity. Thanksgiving Day races can be a fun way to bond with your family, donate to charity, and run off some of that big meal.

If you prefer to stay near the dinner table on Thanksgiving, consider inviting someone (or several people) who would otherwise be spending the holiday alone. Perhaps you live close to a university and could host some international students; or, ask your social circles if they know anyone who needs a place to eat on Thanksgiving. You could bless someone in a way that they will never forget, and it is also an opportunity to teach generosity and hospitality to younger family members.

Other seasonal charities are coat drives and canned food drives. Still looking for more ways to give back? Here are a few additional ideas:

Family-Friendly Giving

For a charitable cause the whole family can participate in, consider calling a local food pantry, homeless shelter, or women’s & children’s crisis center to schedule a time for your family to volunteer. The receptionist will tell you which programs are child-friendly. Be aware that time slots might be limited depending on how many family members attend.

A shared experience of helping the less fortunate is not only a blessing to those in need, but creates a lasting family memory to be cherished for years to come, and could even turn into an annual tradition.

A Gift with A Year-Round Impact

A monthly recurring gift, for example a child sponsorship through Compassion International or the Dalit Freedom Network, can be a way for you to give personally OR on behalf of another person or organization. The extra benefit to these monthly sponsorships is that you can usually develop a one-on-one friendship with the child you are sponsoring, sending personalized mail to each other, and seeing the immediate impact your donation is having on the child’s life.

Give A Special Offering to Your Local Church

Thanksgiving and the holidays are a wonderful time to give a special offering to your church, which it can put towards an emergency relief fund for folks with immediate needs. If you belong to a well-organized church, it will funnel general donations to the most appropriate places; unless you already know of a specific person or family — in that case you can be a special blessing to them directly.

The opportunities are endless when it comes to giving and serving. For even more ideas, simply do an Internet search for local charities in your area. Chances are, there are some that you have never heard of! You might find a new volunteer organization with which to build a long-term partnership.

One Write Company empowers churches, nonprofits, and other organizations that receive monthly payment offerings to manage charitable giving by providing offering and payment books. Our envelope books have been an asset to church members since the 1950s.