Five creative ways to give back this holiday season

December 18th, 2017 Deborah Engfer

For many people, the end of the year is a time to give back to the organizations and causes that are near and dear to our hearts. With the holidays in full swing and tax season right around the corner, that’s no surprise.

In many cases, charitable donations boil down to writing a check or making an online donation. But there are more creative ways to give back – ways that support a cause and share acts of kindness with those around you during this special time of year.

We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite creative ways to give back at the end of the year …

Host a “hand-me-down” party

Invite your friends and family to participate in a “hand-me-down” party. On the invitation, ask guests to bring gently used clothing they no longer need to be donated to a local charity. Collect the items in a box during the event and then drop them off with the organization afterwards. You could even add in holiday cards, cookies or other baked treats.

Donate “passively”

Programs such as Amazon Smile make it possible to raise money for your favorite non-profit “passively” while shopping for things that are already on your list. There may also be local businesses that have partnered with non-profits during the holidays to donate a portion of their sales. Check with your favorite non-profit organizations to see if they have fundraising partnerships with online merchants or local businesses.

Consider holiday workers

While many people spend the holidays enjoying time off with those they love, there are others who have to work. Police stations, hospitals, fire stations and retailers stay up and running during the holidays, which means their employees can’t be at home. Brighten their day by dropping off a special holiday lunch or some Christmas cookies.

Organize a “Santa’s Helper” event

Give Santa a hand by organizing an event where you ask all attendees to bring a small gift for a child or elderly person. During the party, wrap the presents, write holiday greeting cards and drop the gifts off at a local charity, children’s hospital or senior center.

Tip generously

Instead of tipping your usual 15 or 20 percent, increase your tip to 40 percent or more to make a dramatic impact on a fast food worker or server who may be struggling to get by. This is an easy way to help someone out during what can be an especially financially straining time of year for many.

Do you have any other ideas for creative ways to give back? Hop over the MidWestOne Facebook page to share your ideas.

About the author

Deborah Engfer is Branch Manager/Personal Banking Officer at MidWestOne Bank.

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