Creative Ways To Give Back
When I was little, the idea of volunteering usually conjured up the image of ladling out soup at a food bank on Thanksgiving day. If you wanted to give back to society or serve your community in some way, you could either put a check in the mail or volunteer at your local food pantry/church. And while both of those things can be wonderful, meaningful methods of outreach, I have begun to witness an emergence of other creative ways to get involved over the past several years.
As Millennials have made their way into the workforce and become a major market for consumerism, the structure of how things have been done in the past has shifted to more abstract and innovative thinking. With a greater emphasis on purpose and meaningful work, there is now a place for creatives to leave their mark. I thought it might be helpful if I broke down some of my favorite organizations into categories, so you can hopefully find an area where you will thrive!
If you are handy with a camera and photography is right in your wheelhouse, you can offer up your services for a number of organizations.
- The Archibald Project uses film + photography to advocate for orphans by spreading awareness with the hopes of ending the orphan crisis through adoption. If you are a wedding photographer, you can partner with TAP through Weddings That Change The World by donating a portion of proceeds from each wedding you shoot.
- Popular Photography offers an extensive list of ways to use photography to give back, from taking photos of animals in shelters to photo shoots of soldiers reuniting with their families, adoptive families, sick children, and kids in the foster system.
A couple of years ago, I reached out to a local Pregnancy Crisis Center in hopes of getting involved somehow. I was pregnant at the time, and it was a cause really close to my heart to help women experiencing unplanned pregnancies. After meeting with the director, we decided that they desperately needed a social media manager to run their FB page, and I was the perfect fit. It was honestly so much fun getting creative with posts and knowing I was doing something I enjoyed while encouraging women I had never even met.
If you are a social media fanatic and have a couple hours to spare each week, start by reaching out to local non-profits and offering up your services. Most of them do not have the budget to hire someone and are in desperate need of boosting their online presence.
arts + crafts
Some of the most creative opportunities to serve that I have witnessed involve fun gatherings + crafty projects. Here are some of the coolest non-profit service opportunities I have come across (although I'm sure there are TONS more out there worth discovering).
- Together We Rise is an incredible non-profit who advocates for children in the foster system. They offer several super cool ways to volunteer like hosting a gathering to decorate + assemble "sweet cases" (suitcases with with items for foster kids who often carry their very few belongings in trash bags.) You can also build bikes, skateboards, assemble birthday boxes, and photograph these kids with their adoptive families.
- Mercy House Global promotes women empowerment by selling sustainable, fair trade products made by women and teenage girls in impoverished countries. If you live in Texas or are down for a good 'ole fashion road trip, you can volunteer to help package their beautiful products in an adorable rustic barn in Magnolia, TX. (My mom + dad recently did this and really enjoyed it!)
Also, if you like the idea of lovely handmade goods delivered straight to your door every month, you can sign up for their Fair Trade Friday club.
outdoors | gardening + sports
- Several years ago I came across The Miracle League, a local organization promoting sports and activities for children with special needs. At the time, I was needing service learning hours for a college class (as shallow as that sounds) but it was one of those experiences that I was truly honored and humbled to be a part of. I had so much fun assisting my "buddy" in a variety of sports. If you don't live in the area, maybe check out some similar opportunities local to you.
- If you have a green thumb, it is very likely that your city or local church/food bank has a community garden. I love the idea of these because they provide a sustainable, healthy solution to eradicating hunger in our cities and hometowns. If you live in the North Texas area, Grace Bridge has a garden and offers some other fantastic programs for needy families in the area.
One of the most important roles I play is sponsering a child from a third-world country. For the amount of money I drop on chai lattes or a cute outfit for Cyrus without a second thought, I am able to meet the basic needs of a child in Guatemala and another in the Middle East.
- For $38 per month you can offer medical care, nourishing food, an opportunity to stay in school and hear the gospel through Compassion International . The best part is that you get to hear from your child on a regular basis through letter writing. It's truly a tiny price to pay to know that you could be giving a child a hope and a future.
- Redeemer Christian Foundation is a tiny school in the Middle East in the midst of a lot of political and religious turmoil. They cannot advertise globally due to the dangers of what is going on over there right now. However, for only $15 per month, you can sponser a child. With this monthly donation, you provide them with school supplies, resources, and a hot meal (usually the only one of the day, as most of them are severly impoverished orphans).
Like I said, there are so many ways to use your creative skillset to make a difference! And with the growing number of non-profits, there is literally something for everyone. In fact, do a little bit of digging, and you can practically tailor fit your giftings to a cause you feel passionately about.
If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment or shoot us a message! We would truly love to hear from you. Here's to making our world better, one act of kindness at a time.