As a young professional in a big city, you’ve probably been approached more than once to donate to charity. Sometimes it’s awkward, and you feel like your only choice is to reluctantly say yes or to politely decline. How about the third option: taking an honest look into who and what you really care about and putting your money (and time) where your mouth is without regrets.
To help motivate you to be a giver, here are six reasons to be more generous that go beyond the tax receipts.
1. They Need You
Let’s get this one out there first and foremost: charities exist for a reason. If you take the time to look around your city, we challenge you not to see someone or something that’s in need of some TLC. From animal shelters to literacy programs, there are hundreds if not thousands of local organizations created by passionate people as a response to a real need that exists right in your own backyard.
Global and national causes are important too, but often have greater fundraising resources than the smaller local ones do. Translation: without doing your research, you might be missing out on supporting a cause that really tugs on your heartstrings.
2. Causes are Sexy
Who doesn’t love meeting an intelligent person who actually cares about something other than themselves? Realizing and living out your passions is attractive, bottom line. Unless of course you’re that guy with the sign yelling at pedestrians downtown. Also attractive: choosing your tactics wisely.
3. Volunteering is a Career Booster
If you believe that time is money, consider this: the time you spend giving to others can often be more valuable than donating cash. The key to this, though, is offering to do something relevant for a worthwhile organization. Whether your area of expertise is accounting or web design, non-profits are constantly in need of pro-bono work where consulting fees are unrealistic.
The more involved you are, the more you’ll learn about the inner workings of resource-strapped organizations, which will teach you how to solve problems without the usual comforts of your company’s IT Help Desk or administrative assistant. Employers will appreciate that, we promise.
4. Social Springboard
The older we get, the more we realize that great relationships are built on more than a shared love for beer.
Fortunately, once you realize that, supporting a cause becomes a perfect way to make friends who are on the same page. This also works well for expanding your social circle when you’re new to a city, as that common ground can really build solid bonds while you’re doing something you care about and learn about your new ‘hood. And chances are, your new friends love beer, too, so it’s a win-win.
5. Purpose and Perspective
Here’s where we get all deep on you: giving back is good for the soul. You know how good it feels when you give canned soup to a food drive or change to kids trick-or-treating with those UNICEF boxes? Imagine how good it feels to really find the causes that matter to you and actually devote yourself to making change happen. The closer you are to the causes you care about, the more insight you can get into where your money and time are going, which makes the rewards so much greater.
Also, as YPs, we might not always be working in industries that excite us, so knowing that we’re making a positive difference with our resources means we’re less likely to have a breakdown, quit our jobs, and move to Sierra Leone at 38. Or maybe you will, but at least you’ll be well-informed when you do.
6. Paying it Forward
We love hearing about YPs who are doing really cool stuff in their communities. You don’t have to be Martin Luther King, Jr. or Emma Watson to be an inspiration, as actions definitely do speak louder than words. Being (appropriately) vocal about supporting a cause can have a domino effect on those around you, reminding them that they have the ability to share their good fortune while still maintaining a balanced life.
Cover photo: istock.com/dolgachov