You might have heard that Fully is committed to doing business differently, to being an agent of change in the world. But, what does that really mean? Part of our core values as a B Corp, and our dedication to contributing to a healthier planet and its communities means giving back with our dollars and volunteer hours.
This is especially salient at the end of the year: the traditional time of giving. All over the US, there are food drives, as well as holiday gift drives around this time of year. It’s easy to guess at some of the reasons this pattern developed, and there are a lot of reasons why it continues. While year-end giving is helpful, spreading your giving throughout the year is often easier on you and better for the organizations you’re supporting.
End-of-year Giving Stats
According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, 50.5% of nonprofits raise the majority of their income in October through December — 16% raise over half between Thanksgiving and the year’s end. However, many nonprofits emphasize that monthly donations are what keep them going — a commitment of five or ten dollars a month can be relied on in a way that an unknown hypothetical donation at the end of the year can’t.
While many organizations need extra volunteer help around the end of the year, many could also use help throughout the year. Additionally, frequent volunteering is doubly helpful since those returning volunteers already know the ropes and will be able to dedicate more time to the work and less to training.
Making a Habit of Giving
Just like flossing, you can make giving part of your routine. Once you work it in, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to start. By doing a little every month you might find you’re able to do more than if you try to do it all at once. All this sounds good, but where to start?
Committing to giving ahead of time can feel scary: it’s hard to know how much to give; many things can impact a budget; what about emergencies? For anyone who runs a sensible budget, these are all valid points, but don’t worry!
One place to start is by looking at the now: this winter, if you find yourself giving $50 or more to a nonprofit (or if you made several donations over the year that added up), consider becoming a monthly donor next year by dividing your total by 12. If you find yourself passionate about volunteering with an organization, consider talking to them about their volunteer needs throughout the year — one afternoon a month from somebody who knows and cares about their work could make a big difference to an organization.
If you’re not sure what amount to start with, starting small is a-okay. Try committing just $5 or $10 dollars a month to an organization, if your budget allows, you can always give more at any time! There are also some great opportunities to really make your dollar stretch:
- Donation matching campaigns: occasionally generous contributors will offer to match donations — nonprofits are really good at calling out those opportunities.
- Unforeseen events: disasters, natural and otherwise, arise every year. Recently, the fires in California have presented such an urgency, where any contributions go a long way.
- Year-end: true, we’re talking about shifting away from giving just at year’s end, but if you reach December and feel like you can do more, do it!
Upping Your Impact
Tell your friends! If you feel passionate about the work an organization is doing, you’re their best spokesperson. Your friends and family are going to trust your opinion more than anything they see out in the world, so you can make a big difference by spreading the word, even just by sharing your experiences. Getting your friends and family to join you can make volunteering so much more fun!
Employer donation matching: many employers offer partial or complete matching for employees’ charitable contributions. If you’re not sure if this is available, ask your manager or HR department. If they don’t do it now, maybe enough people asking will make them think about it!
Volunteering during work hours: this definitely won’t work for everybody, but some employers offer paid volunteer time to employees who take time out of their workday to give back. Even if that’s not an ongoing option, you might be able to coordinate a one-time group volunteer session, or take this opportunity to start that conversation!
A new way of giving back
Seasonal giving and corporate charity are nothing new, but Fully is joining a movement to giving smarter, to making our dollar-match donations go further, and helping our employees’ volunteer paid hours to make a deeper impact.
Sometimes more effective giving is as easy as changing our perspective, looking beyond seasonal trends to the long game. If we contribute smarter, more sustainably we might make a bigger difference to those in need. We can’t think of a better way to living fully the whole year round.