WORKING TOGETHER TO CREATE CHANGE
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Find out how you can effectively give of your time, talents, and resources.
GIVING OF YOUR TIME
It can be a challenge to find the time to volunteer when everyone leads such busy lives. With 8,760 hours in a year, roughly 720 hours in a month, 168 hours in a week, and 24 hours in a day, surely there must be some way you can squeeze in the time to volunteer. The impact you can make on someone’s life, by giving just a few hours of your time, is immeasurable.
Besides the obvious benefit of impacting the community, volunteering can help you make new friends, expand your network, feel a sense of accomplishment, learn valuable life skills, and provide a meaningful outlet for exploring your interests and passions. It can also be a fun experience.
Many times, it’s the volunteers who are the life-blood of a nonprofit, like the dedicated volunteers at the American Red Cross who work directly with those affected by disasters or complete the necessary behind-the-scenes work to ensure the organization is ready for whatever curveball comes their way.
“Volunteers deliver the majority of our direct services,” says Phil Hansen, CEO, American Red Cross Northern Minnesota Region. “They are the driving force behind our mission and our work in the community.”
Volunteers are also at the core of the American Heart Association, with a mission to build healthier lives by fighting heart disease and stroke—the No. 1 and No. 4 killers in Minnesota and across the country.
According to Kimberly Friend, executive director of the American Heart Association’s Twin Cities office, “Our 22 million volunteers around the nation are our voice, our face, and our feet within our communities, getting our programs out to those who need them most.”
What legacy will you leave? Whether you’re single without kids, a new parent, or a grandparent, you are creating a legacy for future generations—a legacy determined by your actions, views, the friends you have, and the beliefs you share.
Make volunteering your time part of this legacy.
GIVING OF YOUR TALENTS
Aaron, an avid skier, volunteers his talents to Courage Center and helps those with physical disabilities experience the rush of downhill skiing through a one-on-one adaptive skiing program. Karla, described by friends as a “baby whisperer,” cuddles the neonatal babies at an area hospital. Don, an experienced attorney, regularly provides pro bono legal advice. Jeanne knits hats and scarves for those in need.
Those wanting to utilize a particular skill through the American Red Cross may choose to volunteer with disaster communications or join an amazing cohort of nurse volunteers. Those interested in teaching may find a place offering preparedness presentations or teaching CPR or First Aid classes. Volunteers can assist at blood drives, help maintain facilities, respond to local and national disasters,
There are many nonprofit organizations and charities that can greatly benefit from a specific skill set. According to idealist.org, “In some situations, what’s needed is volunteers who work in specialized fields like medicine and health care, human rights and the law, financial management, website development and technology, teaching and education, graphic design, and construction. In other cases, it’s more about an individual’s talents—whether they engage them in a paid employment capacity or not; examples of these types of skills include writing, photography, strategic planning, public speaking, problem solving, and the arts.” Make a list of everything you’re good at (don’t be humble) and be honest about how you’d like to donate those skills.
If you aren’t able to donate a lot of time or financial support to an organization, consider donating your talents.
In the wise words of Anne Frank, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
GIVING OF YOUR RESOURCES
We are building a legacy—a legacy of what we believe in—every day we are alive. How we respond to life’s challenges show our significant other, our kids, our friends, our neighbors, and our community who we are and what we stand for.
Estate planning is a tangible way to look at our life—or legacy—not only in terms of relationships, but also in terms of wealth, possessions, and property. It is a way of reviewing
how we can best give to the greater social good.
“The benefits of charitable giving, as it factors into estate planning, tend to break into two categories,” explains Christopher J. Burns, Henson and Efron attorney-at-law. “The first is the social good category; the second is tax benefits. For some clients, the tax benefits might not be there, but the social good is always present.”
Planned giving, as part of an estate plan, is a type of charitable giving that allows you to express your personal values by supporting your favorite charities. More than 80 percent of Americans contribute to the nonprofit groups of their choice throughout their lifetimes, but according to research conducted in 2000, only around 8 percent of people chose to continue this support through a charitable bequest.
By making bequests and planned gifts, you can help organizations make a difference in our communities.
“Planned gifts can provide a perpetual source of support to a particular cause, charity, or community instead of a one-time contribution,” explains Robyn Schein, director of donor experience and engagement, The Minneapolis Foundation.