Today is known as Giving Tuesday.  Like you, I’m receiving requests for monetary donations.  It’s a huge day for charitable organizations and I hope they all achieve their fundraising goals.

Today’s blog post is not about donations of money, however.  It’s about donating time.  Sharing talents.  Helping where you can.Close up of hands on top of one another. They are hands of a group of volunteers.

This was actually the topic of a panel discussion I participated in during the “Global Game Changers Summi,” put on by the ASELxPenn group. Speaking to a worldwide audience over a live stream, some fellow Rotary members and I talked about non-monetary ways of giving.

Some of the questions we were asked:

What does giving back mean to you?  How have you given back?  How has giving back impacted your life?  What recommendations do you have for people who want to give back but don’t know where to start?

Among my responses: I feel like I was born with the “volunteering gene.”  I’ll give Girl Scouts some credit too.  And my parents for encouraging me to take a volunteer job during high school as a way to beef up my college applications.  I found that I liked the good feelings that come from helping others.

During the virtual panel discussion, I provided examples of past and present contributions.  I said now that I’m older and have more wisdom and experience to share, I give advice and make introductions that might advance someone’s career.   Because I am owner of my voiceover company, I am free to create my schedule.  That means I can freely donate time, volunteering at various Rotary service projects and emceeing live events for charities I believe in. 

Speaking of Rotary, which is a service organization doing good works all around the world, I was happy to help organize and promote a big fundraiser which garnered $100,000 for Ukraine Relief.  It was a lot of work but it sure felt good!

My current favorite way of giving back is hosting a weekly Zoom dance party.   Created during the lockdown as a way to reduce pandemic stress and isolation, I play 15 minutes of music for a small group of women.  Then we each share our intentions for the week.   Nobody pays me and that’s just fine.  I do it because everyone enjoys it.  We appreciate the new friendships that have formed and we benefit from the accountability and support it provides.

Would you like to give back but aren’t really sure how to do so?  Here are some suggestions:

Get involved in something you’re passionate about.   Volunteer through your place of worship, political campaign, PTA, animal rescue, gardening club, environmental group, or business association.  

Mobilize your co-workers.  See if your company does Volunteer Days during the year.  If they don’t, perhaps you could  organize one and recruit others to get involved.  

Join an organization.  I’ve been in Rotary for almost 15 years and highly recommend it!  Many clubs do service projects every month.  Some offer opportunities every week.   I love the convenience of checking my club calendar, signing up for a volunteer shift, showing up, and feeling like I’ve made a positive impact. Plus there’s the bonus of making new friends while gaining a better understanding of different viewpoints and beliefs.  

So remember, you don’t need a big bank account to help people.  Sharing some time and talent can do a world of good too.  Sometimes, even just lending an ear or giving a hug to someone can make a positive difference.

What’s a non-monetary way that you like to give back?  Please share in the Comments section.