Being socially responsible does not always mean you have to write a check. While paying it forward by check always come in handy, you should not be discouraged when money is tight. There are many ways of paying it forward that do not involve monetary donations. Here are some ways to be socially responsible without opening your wallet:
Give your time. Volunteering is all about giving with your time. Whatever organization or cause is relevant to you, contact them or look on their website to find out their volunteer needs. Every organization needs people willing to donate their time. That’s why they call it a helping hand.
Give your love. If you have friendship or love to give then you can truly help someone, whether it’s a child the Boys and Girls Club, a women’s shelter, a senior center, an animal shelter or a hospital, a charitable organization or simply being a support system to someone who needs one. Pay it forward with a smile, a hug or your friendship.
Give your stuff. What items do you have around your house that you can donate? Sure, you can donate clothes or items from your pantry to a food drive. You can donate books too. Yet there are also items you can donate which may not have thought about. Schools and daycares use old magazines, fabric and rolls from toilet paper and paper towels for art projects. Hospitals will often take donated DVD’s for patients to watch and magazines (relatively current ones) for them to read. Some daycare centers will take your donated changing tables or gliders, depending on their condition. We recently donated our glider to the NICU at the hospital where our son was born and it felt great to know that a new mom would be able to use it when visiting her child. Given how many hours I spent in one of those chairs when my son was in the NICU, it felt wonderful to pay it forward to another NICU parent. Sometimes being socially responsible is just good karma.
Give your talents. Can you sing or play the piano? Are you artistic? Can you build websites? Whatever it is that you are talented in or love to do, someone else would love to be the recipient of those talents and skills. You can play music at a senior center, coach a team or offer to build a person/organization a website. If you have a green thumb you can help with the garden at a local playground. Just think about what skills you have to offer and who you can help by utilizing them.
Give your voice. You can help just by spreading the word about an organization or charitable initiative. Whether by phone or email, on your Facebook page or (yes) on a blog, you can always use your voice. Words are powerful.
Give your ideas. No organization is without issues that need to be resolved, from fundraising to marketing to planning events to coordinating various operations. Strategic minds are always useful. Do not underestimate the power of a good idea.
So there you have it, six ways to give of yourself and pay it forward in these difficult economic times without opening your wallet. In what ways do you pay it forward?