’Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house was a disastrous mess of wrapping paper, unfinished projects, shopping lists, reminder notes and preparations for relatives coming for a visit.
Is it any wonder that eggnog is the drink of choice during this crazy time of year?
You might think that there is absolutely no way to make room in your schedule for a little volunteer work.
You would be wrong.
For starters, researchers have just completed a study that shows the best time to give time away is exactly when you don’t think you have enough. Why? Because it makes you more productive. In addition, volunteering connects you with a more profound and meaningful spirit of the season, which in turn increases your energy and joy.
With all of the modern technology and new or improved gadgets we have at our fingertips, there isn’t much that’s impossible to accomplish over the Internet. Including volunteering. Here are just a few ways to brighten somebody’s holiday season via the Internet without breaking your schedule or your bank account.
• Hop online and head on over to www.globalgiving.org, a charity fundraising website that gives social entrepreneurs and nonprofits from anywhere in the world a chance to raise money they need to improve their communities. Since 2002, GlobalGiving has raised, by one count, $73,790,813 from 291,956 donors who have supported 6,602 projects. Find a project to support and pick an amount to give. Once you have made a tax-deductible contribution, you will get email updates from the project so you can see how your gift is making a difference.
• Send gifts and/or supplies to a family affected by Hurricane Sandy. Staten Island Assemblyman Matthew Titone and Brooklyn Relief (The Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew) have set up Amazon wish lists for their areas. Staten Island is requesting heavy-duty garbage bags, diapers, batteries, flashlights and underwear. If you want to donate big, Brooklyn Relief is requesting portable generators along with some of the smaller items.
• Become an online tutor. Many students are struggling with math, science, social studies, etc. Being an online mentor or tutor is a way to help out without stepping a foot outside your door.
• Become an advocate for human rights through Amnesty International.
• Do your holiday shopping through a venue that benefits charity, such as http://givebackamerica.com/. It costs you no extra money or time to shop via this toolbar, but each time you make a purchase, you will be donating to a charitable cause.
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If you are able to spare more than a few minutes, here are ways you can make a difference this season in as little as 15 minutes.
• Donate, donate, donate. Household items such as glasses, cellphones, computers, furniture, beds and many more items you probably would not think of can be refurbished for use for someone who would not have been able to afford the item new. If you know someone in your household is getting a shiny new tech gadget, don’t throw the old one out. Check first to see if it can be put to good use via a charity.
• Create your own drive for whatever cause is closest to your heart. It only takes a few minutes to collaborate with local charities and discover what needs have yet to be met. Then research fundraisers or seek out those who can donate. Other than a few phone calls, most of this can be done online, as well.
The writers are co-founders of Buttoned Up, a company dedicated to helping stressed women get organized. For more columns, go to shns.com.