I don’t know about you, but I am full of holiday spirit lately. With the weather turning colder here in Toronto, the occasional sight of snowflakes, and storefront displays becoming more holiday-themed, I can’t help but look forward to Christmas, which is what I celebrate. I think of family, food, reading by the fire, attending parties, and general merriment. I also think of giving and receiving gifts, and how fortunate I am to have such an abundance of blessings in my life.
Between thoughts of giving and thoughts of blessings, I can’t help but think of those less fortunate than me. At a time when all the love and good fortune in my life is staring me in the face, there are many who are on the other end of the spectrum — cold, lonely, and hungry.
So now is the time to give. I’m a fundraiser – which you know already – so I focus on the giving of funds. However, I come back to that great phrase again: time, talent, and treasure. These are the things we can give. Today I want to focus on time.
Though I normally think of philanthropy as the giving of one’s financial resources, that’s not the root of the word at all. Philanthropy is defined as an altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement. Put simply, philanthropy is the love of humankind.
Large donations of money are often the most recognized displays of philanthropy, but there are many ways in which your love of humankind can manifest. During the holidays, giving the gift of your time has so many benefits. You benefit the organization you choose to volunteer with, and you benefit the individuals that organization serves. You meet people from different walks of life – those who are volunteering, and those who need the services of the organization. If you choose to volunteer with your partner, a family member, or friend, you share a special act with someone you love that represents what the holidays are all about. And this experience may bring you some perspective during a time of year that’s often thought to be too commercial and capitalistic, too.
And this isn’t to say that monetary donations during the holidays are less meaningful, because that’s not the case at all. But for those who don’t have the financial capacity to make the impact they want to, a gift of time is a fantastic and commendable alternative.
Someone reached out to me in October and asked me to share an article called:
“20 Successful Nonprofits Started by Students”.
Take a look and be inspired by these young individuals who gave so much of their time to a student project that it evolved into a game-changing philanthropic organization.
Written by Maeve Strathy
Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in educational fundraising for the past 6 years. Click here to learn more about Maeve.