There is so much need around us. We need not look far to find people and communities who could use financial support and assistance. You might be a business owner who wants to bolster your company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) or a regular citizen who wants to give back for the holidays or as a New Year’s resolution for 2022. If so, here are five communities you can help through fundraising efforts and projects this holiday season and steps you can take to ensure that you’re doing it right.
Those affected by the COVID-19 crisis
According to We Forum, poverty in the United States increased due to the COVID-19 crisis, thanks to the recession and the rising cases of unemployment. A study by the U.S. Census Bureau found that the number of Americans living below the poverty line grew by 1 percent.
Suppose you are looking for people to extend financial help to this holiday season. Why not seek out small business owners or professionals who lost their livelihood due to the pandemic? You can provide for their groceries during the holidays, or you can extend financial assistance to them during this winter. Drive around your neighborhood and check places of business that had to close down and foster a connection instead of just waving a check in their faces.
Young professionals drowning in student debt
According to a study by CNBC Make It for their Middle-Aged Millennials project, more than half of older millennials, or those born between 1977 and 1995, say that the loans they took out for their college education were not worth it. Even though many of these young professionals now enjoy higher earnings and improved job security, many of them still find that paying for their student debts feels like a “constant uphill battle” with little to no relief.
If you know people in your company or community who are struggling financially because they’re still paying for their student loans, why not help set them up with a bankruptcy lawyer who can help them sort out their options?
These attorneys can help your recipient understand their rights better, which can help them bring their debt to a manageable level, reorganize their liabilities, and find a payment solution that is more affordable and doable. Not many young people know they have this resource, so consider helping them find it.
LGBTQIA+ youth experiencing homelessness
According to the non-profit organization True Colors Fund, 4.2 million LGBTQIA+ youth experience homelessness every year. For many of these young people, it is the cost of their coming out, and they feel like even homelessness is safer than staying in a household that can’t accept them for who they are.
Wherever you may live in the United States, chances are there are still several homeless youths in your town or city. And it’s a shame because young people are our greatest resource, and we need to invest in them if we want a better nation in the years and decades ahead.
If you want to help this community in need, find non-profits that are already doing the work in helping these young people. Do your due diligence before you offer your money, time, and energy to ensure that you partner with an organization of people known for their effectiveness and integrity.
A word of caution
If you truly want to make a difference in the lives of people who are struggling, then it’s not enough to write a check and call it a day. Here are some steps you can take to ensure that you are doing it right:
- Do your homework by researching the issue as thoroughly as you can. In most cases, these marginalized communities are struggling economically because the system has been working against them from the very beginning. Having a proper understanding of the systematic inequality that caused their current financial situation will put you in a better position to help.
- Talk to your donation recipients. Ask them what their day-to-day life is like—it will help you gain an understanding of why things need to change from the top-down instead of through convenient incrementalism. Don’t speak on their behalf, but give them a platform to amplify their voice.
- Talk to activists and advocates who have already been working on behalf of these people for many years now. You will learn more about the issue from people who have been studying and researching a specific advocacy for a long time now.
Nurture the desire in your heart to help others and change things for their good. Making lasting changes for the better always takes a team effort from people who care.