“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.” – Joel A. Barker
What does your community need and how can you help? There are two questions that we should all be asking ourselves from time to time. To both questions there are probably many answers and they will all vary by individual, family and organization. Maybe the need is environmental – does the area need cleaned up? Maybe its educational – more books or larger facilities are needed. Are the organizations that support community members with special needs short on funding or maybe they just need some volunteer help? Regardless of the question, one common answer than can help solve all of these problems is United Way.
United Way is one of the few organization that I truly believe puts your donations where you, the individual, want them to go. When you donate to the United Way you can be as general or specific as you want to be as far as where you want your donated funds to go. The money really does stay in the community and there is a very rigorous due diligence process that non-profits must go through before receiving fund from the United Way. This is to help ensure that the money truly is going where it is needed most. It also helps those of us donating to feel confident that our donations are being put to good use and not just padding the pockets of CEO’s somewhere. (We’ve all heard those horror stories and unfortunately often times they’re true.) United Way stands out though in that they are very transparent in their operations and for me that helps build trust that they are doing what they say they are.
Now many of you are saying “well, I really don’t have any money to spare.” Trust me, I can appreciate that completely. I personally am only able to donate about $200 a year which is about $2.00 per paycheck pre-tax. When you break it down, it doesn’t take a lot to make a big difference. The good news though, is that you don’t even have to donate money to help. You can also donate your time. United Way organizes many functions in communities across the nation each year on their annual Day of Caring and at other times throughout the year and volunteers are always needed. In the past I’ve helped clean out storage areas at a cancer treatment facility, helped with painting at an early childhood education center, done landscaping work, and a variety of other tasks on volunteer days with the United Way. If your employer doesn’t already have a payroll deduction program set up with the United Way (many of them do), click here to find the chapter near you and find out what you can do to help out. Your community will thank you!
What ways do you give back to your community? What charitable organizations do you support? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!