Insights & advice
How to give back to your community
October 2021 – 10 min read
The old saying ‘It is better to give than to receive’ has arguably never meant more than it does right now. With the pandemic presenting many different challenges for communities all over the country, there are plenty of opportunities to give back and make a significant difference in someone’s life.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that giving doesn’t always have to be a major act to make an impact. Sometimes donating your time or making a small gesture can be just as valuable. However you choose to give back, you can often get as much out of it as the person who receives it.
What can you do to help your community?
Giving back doesn’t have to be costly or complicated. If you’re concerned about the expense of donating money or worried you won’t have the time to make a big commitment, there are countless options that can fit into your schedule.
Working on a community garden
Helping build a home
Volunteering at a senior centre
Cleaning up your neighbourhood
Raking someone’s leaves
Shoveling any elderly neighbour’s snow
Coaching a local sports team
Volunteering at a non-profit
Serving meals at food banks
Random acts of kindness
Find your passion
If you’re trying to find the perfect way to give back, consider what you’re really passionate about. The more passionate you are about something, the more likely your enthusiasm will rub off on your community members and the more rewarding you’ll find the experience.
For example, if you’re a passionate sports fan, coaching a local hockey team may be a way to really connect and make a difference with kids in your community. Or if you really enjoy working with your hands, you could put them to good use by building something that different community members can enjoy. By combining your passions with giving back, you’ll get more out of the experience and so will those you’re impacting.
How does giving affect the lives of others?
Many of the programs in your community are run by volunteers and are likely fueled by donations. Things like food drives, senior centres and local sports organizations thrive with the support of community members, and can help improve the mental and physical health of Canadians all over the country.
A gesture that may seem small can actually make a major impact on enriching the lives of those around you.
What do you get out of giving back?
In addition to getting to enjoy one of your passions, there are other ways you can benefit from by giving back. Volunteering with something you want to learn more about can help with skill development and gaining experience that may be valuable down the road. For instance, if you’re helping build a home in your community, you may come out of the experience with some new skills you can use around your own house or even add to a resume if you’re looking to get into the construction field.
There are also emotional benefits to helping others that can potentially improve your mental health. Seeing the difference you’re making in someone else’s life by giving back should make you feel good and give you a more positive outlook.
How can you get involved/volunteer?
You won’t have to look far if you’re trying to find opportunities to give back in your community. Schools, senior centres and local food banks are always looking for volunteers to help out with different initiatives they are running.
If you’re looking for something a little more personal, take some time to look around your neighbourhood and community to find areas of need. There may be things right under your nose, like shovelling show for an elderly neighbour, that you can take on and really make a difference. Or maybe there’s something that’s missing in your community where you can help fill the void. It may be as simple as creating a small free library where residents can take and share books they enjoy.
When it comes to giving back, a little goes a long way.