The holidays are the season of giving, and this year, even in the midst of a global pandemic, we have seen inspiring examples of the power and persistence of people who want to do good and give back. Traditional volunteer opportunities may have limited spots available, be postponed or even cancelled. Yet the needs are greater than ever, and people are finding new and different ways to help.
At Points of Light, we believe every action matters. Every person may express their interest to do good and make an impact in different ways, and our Civic Circle is a framework that represents a person’s power to lead, lend support, and take action for causes they care about.
Here are easy, creative ways you can take action now and into the new year.
Volunteer: Traditional volunteerism is the cornerstone of support for filling gaps in communities and powering nonprofits. While these roles have changed, there’s still a need and many nonprofits have adapted their volunteer opportunities to ensure your health and safety. Consider planning a family volunteering activity this holiday season. If your family is not together, think about doing a virtual opportunity or all volunteering with a local organization around a cause you care about. You can find virtual volunteer opportunities or search for nonprofits near you.
Purchase Power: Where and how you shop says a lot about what causes you support. When doing your holiday shopping, buy gifts from small businesses or Black owned business, or from companies that give back with each purchase. Check out the Points of Light digital magazine, Civic Life Today, to explore how to maximize your purchase power.
Vote: In November, a record number of voters turned out, as well as people volunteering to help ensure a democratic election process. But voting once every four years isn’t all that matters. Register to vote, if you haven’t, and get engaged in local and state elections where decisions that affect communities are being made.
Work: In a recent study we conducted on civic engagement, more than 40% of Gen Z said they considered taking or applying for a job based on the company’s social values. Does your company have an employee volunteer program? How can you get involved, or help start one? Points of Light’s Community for Employee Civic Engagement can help.
Voice: You have a voice – use it! You can tell friends and family about causes you care about, and unlock the assets and connections of others. Daily Point of Light honoree Paloma Rambana used her voice to lobby the Florida legislature, and helped get a $1.25 million program approved for visually-impaired kids like herself. Read her story for inspiration and then use your voice to advocate for a cause you care about.
Donate: Nonprofits fill the gaps left between governments and the private sector, but they need money to operate too. This holiday season give the gift of a donation on behalf of someone you care about. Donating to a cause they care about can help provide them resources to be nimble and adaptive, especially in these unpredictable times.
Listen & Learn: Taking action is so important, but so is educating yourself. Plan time together with your family or friends (virtually or in-person) to listen to experts in the field, the employees and volunteers serving on the ground and the community members impacted by the issues you want to address. Find resources from reputable individuals, organizations and institutions who are subject matter experts. Get inspired and make a plan to do something impactful over the holidays or in the new year.
Service: Since its founding in 1993, National service has been the backbone of the social sector, and members of the military and public servants dedicate their careers to serving our collective needs. Programs like the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, and Senior Corps provide amazing opportunities to serve others.
Social Entrepreneurs: People in communities around the world are solving problems with the resources they have and turning it into their life’s work. These individuals are called social entrepreneurs. Lantana Bako Abdullahi of Nigeria, who leads the Women for Positive Peacebuilding Initiative, is just one example of social entrepreneur finding solutions to local needs. Read her story for inspiration on how to turn your passion into your life’s work.