Federal employees certainly give a lot of money to charities; there is no doubt about that. According to the records, they collectively gave $65.5 million in 2011 alone to the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). That campaign then gives the funds to over 4,400 charities around the nation. But many federal employees seek out additional ways to give back to their community, as well as to help those around the nation, beyond just contributing to the combined fund. Luckily, there are a lot of options available!
Everyone has a special talent or something that they can do that can be a great source of giving back to their community. Whether it’s knowing more about seashells than others in your area, or being able to help drum up a buzz for an upcoming fundraising event, there is something that everyone can do. Think creatively about what you can do by using your skills and talents while engaging in your interests in order to get involved and give back. Being able to share with others, teaching a skill, or putting a skill to use helping is a great way to give back and also pass on knowledge to others.
Here are some additional ways that federal employees can give back:
- Donate money. This of course is always a welcome option to any charity. Whether you give collectively to the CFC or not, charities can always use money to help further their cause. One word of caution in donating money, however, is to be selective with the groups that you are giving it to so that you ensure it is put to the intended use it was collected under.
- Donate time. This is similar to the teaching mentioned above, but you would be doing whatever it is that the charity or group needed from you. It may not be in an area of your expertise, but it will probably be where they need the help the most. Giving of your time can mean more than simply dishing up food in the soup kitchen. You can help to promote a fundraiser, give a speech to raise money for charity, or help organize and run a fundraising event. There are many ways that you can donate some of your time in order to help give back to those in your community, or even across the nation.
- Sponsor kids. There are children in every community who desperately want to play an instrument, play on a soccer team, or take gymnastics. These can be unaffordable activities for many families who are on a tight budget. Offer to sponsor several of them by picking up the tab for these activities. You will be making a world of difference in the child, and that may pay off dividends for the rest of their life, helping to make for a better community.
- Scholarships. Students are always looking for help when it comes to paying for their college education. Set up a small scholarship program at your alma mater and help a student make it through college. Whether you set up the scholarship based on the college you went to, or the field you graduated in, or something completely different is up to you. The important thing is that you will be helping someone pay for college who may otherwise struggle to finish.
- Supplies. Teachers are often short on supplies, taking money out of their own pocket to buy the extras they need. Pick up a few gift cards to an office supply store and drop them off at your local school. Suggest they draw names for them to give the cards away to the teachers, or simply slip them into their office mail boxes anonymously.
- Make connections. Chances are you know people who could be of a tremendous help to those in need or to charities. Just making introductions and putting in a good word can help to create a relationship that will go on to help a charity. As you spend time networking, consider who you can introduce to whom that can help to further a cause.
- Give stuff. A lot of charities, or even small local community groups, hold community garage sales in order to raise funds to further their activities. If you are cleaning out your garage, basement, or home, consider donating those used items to a group that can sell the items to raise money. This helps you get the unwanted items out of your home, and helps them raise the money they need.
- Support businesses. Every chance you get, when given the choice, choose to support businesses in your local area, as well as across the nation. This may seem like a small gesture, but it actually carries a lot of weight, when you look at all the things you purchase over the course of a year. Keeping that money in your community, or in this country, will help to give back and strengthen a nation.
- Support science. Several ways to help support scientific organizations have emerged over the last few years. Websites like ScienceLeap, SciFund Challenge, and Petridish allow anyone to directly support scientific research projects that interest them.
Giving Back, Getting Back
There are many ways that federal employees can give back to their community and nation. Whether it’s helping a homeless person get lunch, donating to a shelter, or helping run a fundraiser to gather pet supplies for a location humane society, options abound. There are many things that can be done that go beyond the usual idea of writing a check.
There is no doubt that federal employees are a generous bunch of people. That is evident in how much funds are collectively being raised and given to charities each year. And while checks may help a charity in a big ways, some of these other ways to give back can be equally as effective. Plus, when you give something like your time, you will in turn get back a lot more. What you will experience in working with others for a common cause will bring you an internal feeling of satisfaction that a check simply can’t bring. It’s really a way in which you are giving back, but you tend to also get back!