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Looking for Ways to Celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day? Hug a Nonprofit!

by Jessica Lantos

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Every person you know in Maine  benefits from the work of Maine’s nonprofits. Every single person!  Since today is Random Acts of Kindness Day, we thought we’d share 10 ways you can support the important work of the organizations Maine people count on.

Volunteer

Pick an organization, any organization. The choice is yours. You can help once a week, once a month, on a one-time-only project. You can pick an organization you know, or one you want to get to know. You can read to kids, spend time with adults, hold a hand, garden, teach, tutor, cook. You can file, do data entry, walk a dog, deliver a meal. Not sure where to begin? Give www.VolunteerMaine.org a try and see what catches your eye.

Make a donation

To support their mission-based work, nonprofits develop business models with diversified income streams. They contract with state and federal government, receive grants from foundations, earn revenue through memberships, attendance fees and subscriptions, and receive contributions from individuals and businesses that recognize the value of the nonprofits work in the community. Consider supporting organizations whose work you appreciate.  (We have several to recommend!)

Make a wish come true

Donations can be about more than money. Call or check out the website of a nonprofit that’s providing services to the community and you’ll find a wish list of items they could use. You might make it a family project. Consider adopting a nonprofit and providing them with just one ongoing wish from their list for an entire year.  It could be toiletries, diapers, bedding, furniture, or kitchen supplies. You might even find this to be a great way to get involved on a longer-term basis with an organization.

Serve on a nonprofit committee

Speaking of getting involved, this might be your next step. Serving on a committee could be a one-time opportunity, like helping to plan a fundraiser, or could be longer term, like serving on a committee of the board of directors. Maybe you’re good at planning events, or maybe you’re great at reading spreadsheets and could serve on a finance committee. Nonprofits rely on the work of many people to share their workload, and committee members are a vital force.

Serve on a board

Nonprofits are governed by volunteer boards of directors. all charged with the role of acting in the best interests of the organization. The work is rewarding, and will give you a stronger commitment to an organization and to the community it serves.

Take time to learn about the crucial role nonprofits play in our communities

Did you know that one of every seven workers in Maine works for a nonprofit? Maine’s nonprofits are a crucial part of Maine’s business community. Take some time to learn about the history of nonprofits in Maine, and why they are an integral part of our lives.  Checking out MANP’s new Adding Up Impact report is a great place to learn more.

Speak Out – Advocate

Nonprofits are good for Maine. They run the gamut from the tiny community animal shelter, land trust and art program to the enormous hospital, science lab and university. Find their work to be of value to your community? Anyone can lobby for the good work of nonprofits! Write a letter to your legislator. Speak to your neighbors and coworkers.  Nonprofits appreciate and rely on your taking on an active role as a member of the community.

Engage with your community

The nonprofits you care about work in  partnership with other community organizations and are tied into their communities as part of a strong network.  See a connection you could help make? a volunteer program or a wish list your business could support? Your work can help strengthen the fabric of the community you call home.

Share your talents

You have valuable skill sets, so consider sharing them with organizations that benefit your community! Access to graphic designers, writers, event planners and many other professionals can be hard to budget. Smaller nonprofit organizations often have limited resources, so if you’ve got the time, a nonprofit will most certainly have the need.

Thank a nonprofit

Who doesn’t benefit from a thank you? If an organization has reached out to you this past year, or helped you with a project or a problem, take the time to say thank you. Write a letter, give a call, drop by. That is without a doubt an essential gift you can make.

 

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