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Beyond the Buck: 4 Alternative Ways to Give Back in 2018

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With 2018 in full swing, many Americans are hard at work striving to maintain their New Year’s resolutions. While most put an emphasis on personal improvement goals related to health, money, or education, a growing portion of the population are implementing resolutions focused on creating positive social change. At the NASBA Center for the Public Trust, we strive to educate the public about ethical leadership, which is governed by a focus on honesty and integrity. A hallmark of ethical leadership is a responsibility to give back and positively impact the world. Often times we think that in order to make an impact, we need to possess money or a position of power, yet this is far from the truth. There are a plethora of ways to make your mark without writing an oversized check. Here are some tips for making viable resolutions that will help create positive change in 2018.

Resolution #1: Give Monthly
Not all of us have a ton of extra room in our budget to contribute to worthy causes. And while big donations certainly do drive much of the fundraising efforts of nonprofits, small gifts can also have a major impact. Rather than stressing about not having the ability to write a triple digit check, focus instead on creating room in your budget for smaller, monthly donations. Not only is recurring giving a more convenient way to donate, but it is actually more impactful for the nonprofit recipient. This is because planned giving is more sustainable and makes a compounded impact over time. This type of giving also allows nonprofits to make better cash flow predictions, leading to long-term, sustainable change.

Resolution #2: Shop Smarter
If there is no room in your budget to give monetarily, you can still make an impact through your shopping. By thinking through where and how you spend your money, you have the opportunity to positively shape our global community. First, consider the products that you purchase and the companies that produce them. Research the impact that these products have on our world both environmentally and socially. By utilizing your purchasing power, you can support companies that treat their customers, employees, and the earth well.

Another way to ensure that your purchases make an impact is to shop at stores which donate a portion of their proceeds to charitable organizations. When you shop using AmazonSmile, 0.5% of every purchase you made can be donated to the charity of your choice. Likewise, grocery stores such as Kroger allow you enroll in community giving programs, which will donate money back to community organizations.

Resolution #3: Volunteer
Ever heard the old adage that time is money? That’s not just a saying. According to research compiled by Independent Sector, a volunteer’s time is very valuable; in fact, it is worth about $23 per hour. When put into this perspective, it is clear that volunteering your time and expertise has the ability to make a huge impact. Our Student Center for the Public Trust (StudentCPT) chapter programs utilize volunteers as speakers and mentors to our student leaders. Whether you work with students, participate in a community cleanup, or provide pro bono services, there is no doubt that volunteering is an outstanding way to make a difference in 2018.

Resolution #4: Use Your Connections
Finally, as we traverse through 2018, remember that there is power in numbers. The creation of networks of like-minded people is key to creating positive change in the world. In addition to donating money or time, think through how you can help build bridges for causes that are meaningful to you. This could be through making introductions between potential partners or sharing the positive work of organizations in your community. Our StudentCPT chapters have all been started because of connections that we have made with community members interested in creating more ethical leaders in their communities. This growing network of individuals who value ethical leadership has helped us create a lasting impact throughout the country.

What meaningful resolutions have you made for 2018?
The Center for the Public Trust offers multiple ways to get involved. Check out our Ways to Give page to learn more. 

— Sydney Shearer
Development & Student Programs Specialist, NASBA Center for the Public Trust

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