How to Help Your Community

by Kelsey Casselbury

Give back to your community by finding creative ways to help out beyond traditional volunteering opportunities. Even if you don't have a lot of time or money, you can help out your neighbors, the local environment, or even local businesses in easy, cost-effective ways. Take a moment to determine what causes are important to you, and then take steps to give back for a more beautiful, friendlier community.

Spend Wisely

When you're a busy person, you can still benefit your community by choosing where to spend your money to do the shopping you have to do anyway. Instead of purchasing goods at big box stores, choose to shop at locally owned businesses. Not only does a percentage of the sales tax go directly to your community, but you're supporting the entrepreneurship and livelihood of your fellow citizens. By keeping these small businesses alive, you're even supporting a larger cause. According to Sustainable Connections, nonprofit organizations receive an average of 250 percent more support from small business owners than from larger businesses.

On a Budget

It doesn't take cash to better your community. Combine doing good and exercise by grabbing a garbage bag and taking a walk around the neighborhood, picking up garbage along the way. If you have kids, bring them along; this is a good way to show the effects of littering. If you made extras for dinner and have a neighbor who lives alone, bring her a plate of food. Package it so she can put it in the freezer if she's already eaten. One of the easiest ways you can help your community that doesn't take any money at all is to vote in every election, not just the presidential election. Learn more about the candidates for local elections and head to the polls when the time arrives.

Keep Everyone Safe

A safe community is a happy community. Do your part to keep you and your neighbors safe by reporting crime -- no matter how small -- to the police promptly, suggests the City of Fresno, California. If it's a matter that's not police-related, but it seems to be bringing down the overall appeal of the community, find the appropriate organization to report it to, such as letting a homeowners' association know about an overgrown lawn or junked car on the street. You might feel like you're being a nuisance, but it helps keep your community safe and appealing.

Do Good While Having Fun

When your community hosts a festival or event, attend it with friends or family. The price of admission -- if it even has one -- often goes to a nonprofit organization or raises money for a good cause. If you enjoy it, offer to help plan another event for the community. Ask local businesses to sponsor the event or donate prizes for a raffle or silent auction. Invite the local media to come out and cover the event so it receives even more recognition. If this sounds daunting, organize a neighborhood block party or picnic. Ring your neighbors' doors, introduce yourself and invite them to attend your event to get to know others on your block.

About the Author

Kelsey Casselbury has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Penn State-University Park. She has a long career in print and web media, including serving as a managing editor for a monthly nutrition magazine and food editor for a Maryland lifestyle publication. She also owns an Etsy shop selling custom invitations and prints.

Photo Credits

  • Catalin Petolea/iStock/Getty Images