4 Ways to Help Your Favorite Community-Based Organization this Holiday Season

By Ruby Maddox

In the spirit of Holiday Giving (and let’s face it – end of the year tax write-offs) don’t forget your local community-based organization(CBO).Collecting Food for the Needy

You know, the one with the much smaller staff than the corporate nonprofits and minimal capacity to launch a full scale year-end giving campaign; or the one that will definitely NOT be handing out Christmas bonuses of any sort to their staff.

Yes you know the one…they were also ones running the local coat drive, providing after-school programs, feeding the homeless, clothing the needy, and offering tutoring to all the neighborhood kids… you get the picture.

Your favorite CBO serves the needs of the community throughout the year. Here’s your chance to do something in return.

1. CrowdFunding
This year’s Giving Tuesday campaign was likely the ultimate event in crowdfunding history to date. Many nonprofit organizations are using crowdfunding more and more as a way to increase donations and empower donors.
crowdrise screen capture
Crowdfunding is essentially online fundraising  anyone can do for any cause, project, or start-up.  Crowdfunding allows people to leverage their social networks for the organization their choice. Sites such as Crowdrise and Razoo enable users to set-up their own online fundraiser while connecting the user’s social media platforms to help spread the word.  Donations are made online, are tax-deductible, and can be set up to go directly to the organization.  Fundraisers can request that friends and family donate to their crowdfund site in lieu of gifts.

2. Help Write Letters or Thank you Cards
Some organizations may wish to take advantage of year-end giving but as mentioned earlier may be understaffed and lack capacity. As a way to help, offer to assist them in addressing and stuffing envelopes. This is a volunteer gig that requires minimal training and can be done in just a few hours but can reap great benefits to the organization.

If not letters perhaps thank-you cards. Thanking donors is a big part of donor stewardship and engagement. Donors who are thanked are likely to give again. By assisting the organization with this task, you’re not only freeing up a staff member to work on more skilled-based assignments, you are also  assisting the organization in cultivating future donations.

3. Hold a Holiday Collection Drive – Non- Monetary
Contact the CBO and find out if they have a list of non-monetary items that they need and what condition these items should be in. This can be anything from office supplies & furniture, first-aid kits, snacks, or toiletries.  Once again, leverage your social network by making this list of needs known to your friends and family. Share the importance of the organization with your network and the work that they do in the community. Lastly, provide the address and directions to the organization (so you don’t end up with well-meaning folk dropping stuff off on your doorstep.)

4. Send a Thank-you Gift to the Staff
Remember those non-existent Christmas bonuses I mentioned? Many nonprofit staff  often work above and beyond their stated job descriptions.  CBOs tend to have staff that are passionate about investing their talents in their communities and often make sacrifices in order to further support the organization.
If your budget allows, send a gift card over to the organization for each staff member (even small increments can work). You can send a fruit/gift basket or offer to buy lunch for the staff one day. (This can be a large party pizza or something much more fancy.)
If your budget does not allow – send a thank-you letter informing the organization just how much you appreciate the work that they do or how their work has touched your life.

How will YOU thank your favorite CBO this season?

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