As economic times get tough, more people are asking how they can make the biggest difference right in their own backyard. Indeed, local giving is a topic that has even made its way into the opinions of the mainstream media, causing many charitably inclined people to pay more attention to the impact their dollars have on the causes they love.
Over the years, researchers have consistently validated the important emotional elements of giving to familiar and nearby organizations to foster that rewarding sense of connection. Generous individuals and organizations want to see the results of charitable investments.
Here are some suggestions to get started on a “give local” journey:
Scan the local news. Many people are accustomed to scrolling the news feeds on phones and catching the national and international headlines. Go ahead and take that extra step to follow local news — read your local newspaper, listen to local news radio stations, and watch local TV stations. If you miss an issue or show, check their websites since most news outlets post their articles online. Spend five minutes watching, reading or scrolling the local news for three days in a row and you will learn a lot about your community. Make a mental note of issues that raise your eyebrows or make you say to yourself, “I hope someone is doing something about that.”
Run a few Google searches: Once you have identified some local issues you are interested in, run a search using key words along with the terms “nonprofit” and “charity” and the name of your city. These searches sometimes will help you discover organizations you might have heard of or even be involved with already. At the very least, you will begin to frame your own description of the local causes you care about.
Reach out to your local community foundation. The Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region strives to improve the quality of life in your community by working with nonprofit organizations and people who support them. Our team will know which nonprofits are addressing different issues and can provide advice about how charitable dollars can make the greatest possible difference.
A community foundation is unparalleled in its ability to be flexible and responsive, providing outstanding, personal service designed around donors’ needs while at the same time working closely with legal, tax and wealth advisors to ensure donors are maximizing the financial elements of their charitable giving plan.
What does a Community Foundation do? Glad you asked! Learn more here.