5 Ways to Maintain the Spirit of Giving All Year Long-MainPhoto

Not Just Thanksgiving and Christmas-MainPhoto

The holidays inspire us to open our hearts to the spirit of giving to others who have less than we do. But what happens after December 25? The homeless still need hot meals, children still get sick, and animals still need to be adopted. So how can you maintain the spirit of giving all year long? Here are five ways to keep our sense of generosity alive, both in our hearts and in our actions.

Read Related: How Volunteering Helps Build Empathy

  1. Make a sustaining contribution: If you can afford to give $25, $50 or $100 to a charity during the month of December, maybe you can afford to do so every month. Sustaining contributions help charities plan for the year ahead, knowing they can count on a set amount of funding every month.
  2. Make a weekly or monthly commitment: What can you give up in order to donate an afternoon or evening of your time and talent each week or month? Perhaps that could be the time you might have spent in front of the TV or surfing the internet.
  3. Lend your unique skills:  You may not think you have much to offer in terms of time and talent, but you’d be surprised. Are you an accountant who can teach women in a halfway house how to keep a budget and build their credit? Are you an art teacher who could lead craft sessions with kids at a homeless shelter? Donate your skills!
  4. Volunteer on vacation: Instead of giving of your time and money just at the holidays, what about planning a midyear vacation dedicated to helping others? Organizations like the Global Volunteer Network and the EarthWatch Institute connect volunteers with projects all over the world.You can build houses or schools in developing nations, help protect cultural heritage sites, or install water purification systems in rural communities.
  5. Get your coworkers involved:  Organize an office-wide giving campaign for the charity of your choice. Many established charities have the tools in place to help you do this.

No matter how you decide to maintain the spirit of giving all year long, you can be sure that your gift of time, talent or treasure will be appreciated by the organizations and people you help.

This article is one in a series sponsored by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and dedicated to the spirit of giving to those in need, at the holidays and year round. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeat s childhood cancer and other deadly diseases. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

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Visit Stjude.org and hospitalsanjudas.org