How to love your community during a pandemic

At its root, philanthropy literally means “love of humankind.” Sounds like something everyone could use more of right about now. During these unforeseen times of isolation, masked smiles and staycations, opportunities to connect can be hard to come by. Creating community is now a tricky thing to do safely. And yet it’s precisely that sense of belonging that many people are looking for.

Philanthropy—kindness and compassion for one another – is more important than ever.

Meanwhile, many charities are now running on a shoestring. No galas or fundraising events can make for a lean budget. But these same charities need to help more people. More families are turning to food banks for the first time, or need housing or utility vouchers to keep up with payments. Essential workers need childcare. Entrepreneurs need small business support. Students need mentors. Families need financial counseling to stay afloat.

Families are struggling. We all feel it. The lack of normalcy. Stretched thin. Now… imagine if you could do something to help. (Hint: you can.) Generosity helps us feel better. We are biologically rewarded in our brain when we give to others. In a time filled with unknowns, helping others can also give us a sense of control, of being able to do good and make a positive impact.

Philanthropy comes in all forms. Financial gifts are just one way. Hold a donation drive for most-needed items, or host a virtual party with a cause and invite friends to play fun games to raise funds. Give of your time. Volunteer to put your skills to work. Participate on a board or committee, most of which are meeting online. Or—just ask! What is your favorite cause? Give them a call. Send an email. Ask what they need. They will be just as happy to hear from you as you will be that you reached out.

The holiday season is a good reminder, but philanthropy is best when practiced all year. Feel good while you do good. Share your love and goodwill, and we will all be the better for it.

“It is not a question of whether you ‘have what it takes,’ but of whether you take the gifts you have—they are plenteous—and share them with all the world.”

Neale Donald Walsch