Want to give back this season? Here’s how

Giving back means different things to a lot of different people, but no one can deny that the spirit of giving is strong when it’s needed the most. It’s good to remember those who are less fortunate in the world. If you’d like to make a difference this season but you’re not sure where to start, look no further than this quick guide.

Think about how you want to contribute

Giving back to the community can mean more than just putting your spare change in a bucket as you walk into the grocery store (not that there is anything wrong with supporting a cause that way—all giving is good giving!). Organizations often appreciate donations in the form of a check, supplies, or even baked goods. And if money is tight but you still want to do something good in your community, donating volunteer time can be a priceless gift.

Determine which cause or organization you’d like to support

There are tons of charities out there, big and small, which support a number of different causes. If you’re not entirely sure what cause or organization you’d like to contribute to, take some time getting to know the charities that are out there doing incredible work. Also, keep local organizations in mind—often times they do not share the same prominence that national organizations do and might need a contribution more than others.

Do your research

Unfortunately, there are some terrible people out there who are willing to use the front of a charity for their own financial gain. So before you decide to donate or give to an organization you have never heard of before, do your due diligence and learn more about the organization and how it operates. Even if you’re familiar with a large charity, it is worth investigating how your donation will be used to ensure that there are no disappointing surprises in the future.

Remember to give throughout the year if you can

While giving back to a cause or the community in any way is always a kind and selfless act, remember that your cause needs support throughout the year and that it depends on the generosity of others to continue to do its inspiring work. Find out if you can pick up a regular volunteer shift, commit to donating a small portion of your salary to charity each month, or make a point to pick up a few extra cans of food or toiletries while at the store to donate to a local shelter.

Make a difference in the lives of others this holiday season by giving back in whatever way you can.

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