Giving back is one of the seven pillars of living a full life. Yet for many of us, we are so busy with our lives, careers, and families that we struggle to make time for it. If you think that giving back is a discreet activity, you might want to rethink your approach. Integrating giving back into your busy life can be the perfect way to “solve” your “I have no time to give back” problem. It also may lead to more happiness and fulfillment in your life. Here are 5 ways to give back that can be integrated into your everyday life.
1. Become a Volunteer Teacher or Coach at an Activity You Attend with Your Children
Parents are typically the most time-stressed people; Yet they still manage to make time to take their children to classes, sports, and other outside-of-school activities. When my boys were playing community sports, I learned that I could contribute to other young boys by becoming a coach. I was spending time at the games anyway; why not integrate teaching values to young boys at the same time. I combined the time I was with my children on the ballfield to also include giving back to others. If your children do not play sports, there are many other ways to volunteer. For example, you can teach a religious class that your children attend; volunteer at the local community center that your children participate in, or assist other parents in getting their children to events.
2. Develop Your Resume by Giving Back
If you are looking to get ahead in your career, building your resume is an important first step. Look to giving back as a way to build your resume. For example, take on a leadership role at a local not-for-profit. Volunteering in some instances may be the easiest way to develop your leadership skills and give back at the same time. There are thousands of not-for-profits that are understaffed and need help. Find one that you connect with, and offer to help them. Then use the skills you master—management, leadership, fundraising, etc.—to enhance your resume. It’s a win-win!
3. Integrate Giving Back with Your Work
Most companies today have programs that encourage their employees to get involved with their communities. If you work for a tech company, for example, you can offer to get involved with a program to teach introductory computer skills to the disadvantaged. You can also organize an activity that integrates your company’s marketing goals by giving back. Most companies support cause marketing initiatives. Toys for Tots, food and clothing drives or walkathons are just a few examples.
4. Get Healthy and Give Back
There are countless ways to integrate giving back into your workout routine. If staying healthy is one of your priorities, why not combine your fitness goals with helping others? Whether you want to run, walk, cycle or swim there are numerous organizations that can help you raise money through your athletic endeavors.
Organizations like Susan G. Komen—a not-for-profit that has raised almost a billion dollars for cancer research since its inception—make it easy for individuals to raise large sums of money for their favorite charities. There is an endless number of programs like Team in Training (Leukemia and Lymphoma Society), Team Challenge (Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation) and DetermiNation (American Cancer Society) that allow individuals to dedicate their activity to charity. Find a cause you’re passionate about and find a way to integrate your health and exercise endeavors with giving back.
5. Integrate your Travel Experiences with Giving Back
A good friend of mine—a retired physician—recently traveled to Haiti. For part of his trip, he provided health care to those in need. In doing so, he saw a part of the country he normally would not see and made his trip even more memorable. You do not need to be a doctor to give back. One of my former employees took a trip every year to build shelters for those in need. Not only did he have an incredible experience while helping others, but he also got in better shape in the process.
Giving back does not have to take time away from your important everyday activities. Instead, giving back can be integrated into your routine and even enhance those activities. Use the five tips outlined above to get you started. And remember, the ways are boundless. The secret is to create innovative ways to incorporate giving back into your everyday life.