By Mel and Pearl Shaw

Its Christmas time! And soon to be Kwanza. Then New Years! It’s time to celebrate and share gifts. We give to our families and friends. Many of us have already made a gift to nonprofits we hold closest to our hearts. But, there’s always time for more giving. Here’s a holiday gift idea that can extend into the new year: Give a non-financial gift. Here’s what we mean.

First, let us be clear: nonprofits cannot operate without money. That is a fact. But, we also know there are many other things nonprofits need, and you just might be the right person to fill that need. Think about it this way: nonprofits are busy delivering on their mission and vision. Each also has to raise money, market their organization, and take care of business operations such as human resources, accounting, and facilities. They have a lot to focus on. Your non-financial gift can make a big difference.

If you are an attorney, you can donate legal services. If you are an accountant, you can review your favorite nonprofit’s bookkeeping processes and help update if needed. Computer professionals can conduct a technology assessment, and – if you want to “double your giving” – you could invite others to provide some of the products or services that might be needed to help the nonprofit increase its efficiency or, in some cases, get up-to-date.

There’s something for everyone to offer: basic maintenance, repairs or painting can make a big difference for a nonprofit that has been deferring property maintenance. A team of two administrative specialists could install new office systems and organize those never-ending piles of paper in an afternoon or weekend.

Marketing is a need for most nonprofits, and something that few can afford. If you have marketing-related skills you could make a meaningful impact on a nonprofit. If you have a circle of colleagues that want to work with you, you could help a nonprofit change its future. Imagine this: web redesign, setting up a social media program, creating a marketing plan, crafting standard messages that engage donors and the community.

Here’s how you could launch your project. First, reach out to the executive director at the nonprofit you want to give to. Let her or him know what you are thinking about and ask if your project could be a match for what the nonprofit needs. If it’s a fit, schedule the project for a time that works for all.  Remember, Christmas is about more than one day. With this type of gift you can bring joy throughout the year.

Mel and Pearl wish you a Merry Christmas! For more ways you can make a difference in your community visit 

Pearl and Mel Shaw FC CC