Content courtesy of Walker Sands Communications, a Techweek Gives sponsor organization.
Techweek Gives is coming to an end, but the opportunities to support your community don’t have to. We had a number of generous competitors this year who donated their time, money and goods to organizations in need – and the giving shouldn’t stop there. Here are three easy ways to continue giving year-round:
Spark a little competition
There’s no harm in friendly office competition, especially when the end result is giving back. Consider holding events, like basketball tournaments or scavenger hunts, and charge a small registration fee for participants that you’ll donate to a charity.
For a prolonged office competition, try launching penny wars, a common fundraising technique where teams compete to see who can collect the most money. Start off by giving each department a jar or plastic milk jug. Members of the department get one point for every penny in the jar. Participants can put silver coins or dollars into the jars of other departments to cancel out penny points – so a nickel in someone else’s jar reduces that department’s points by five, a dollar by 100, etc. Create an incentive for the winning department and donate the proceeds to a charity of your choice.
Become a mentor
More than one in three young people – an estimated 16 million overall – never had an adult mentor of any kind growing up, whether that be from a structured program or a family member. Today, there are more than 4.5 million structured mentoring relationships across the nation, meaning there are many opportunities for you to get involved.
The Chicago Literary Alliance, which aims to create a 100 percent literate Chicago, can point you in the direction of a tutoring or mentorship program that works for your schedule. For a long-term mentorship program, consider making a difference through Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Whether it’s setting aside an hour a week or trying out e-mentoring, your companionship can be a big help to at-risk youth.
Make a donation
Every little bit counts. Even if you can’t make hefty donations, consider setting aside smaller amounts to an organization you care about. Maybe on Fridays, you can ditch the chocolate frappe you would have bought and instead, donate $5 to an organization that matters to you.
Donating goods can help, too. Hold a donation drive within your company, or grow your reach further by asking if your office building can set up a donation box in the lobby. Hold these during times of the year when people are especially in need, such as a coat drive in the winter or a school supply drive before fall begins. Don’t forget to track your donations.
Giving back doesn’t have to deplete your free time or your wallet. Consistently giving a small amount of time, goods or donations can go a long way. It’s proven that regularly volunteering may help decrease stress and heighten leadership skills. Just remember, by giving back, you’re not the only one who’s benefitting.
The Techweek Gives campaign, powered by uBack, is working to raise $1 million and commit 10,000 volunteer hours in 90 days. To learn more, click here.