Three ways to engage your community

Posted by David Wagner, Region President and Chief Administration Officer

Do you ever feel overwhelmed when you try to get involved in your community? Do you feel like there are so many worthy causes to support that you couldn’t possibly choose just one? Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” It is easy to get caught up in day-to-day obligations and forget we have a vast number of opportunities all around us to lend a hand to someone or something in need. Often times, it is hard to decide where to dig in and begin helping your community due to the wide expanse of need and for most people, a limited amount of time and resources. Community involvement can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. There are three important guidelines to follow when you are deciding on an organization in which to be involved.

1. Choose your passion. There are endless well-intentioned causes and it can be hard to decide how to direct your time. The easiest way to narrow down your options is to think about where your personal interests lie. Are you interested in politics, veterans, children, animals, education, energy, environment, or the homeless? Ask yourself, what hits home for me? Once you have identified your passion, narrow down the non-profits that fit your passion and have the mission you believe best supports your personal values.

2. Use your expertise. Once you have decided what non-profit you are interested in helping out, explore how you can apply your expertise and skill set. Channeling your skill set into an organization will allow you to give the most you can in your own way.  Using your expertise will double as an enjoyable experience for you and a benefit to the organization. For example, a chef could volunteer once a week or month at a local soup kitchen to help cook and feed the hungry. If you are applying your talents to something you are genuinely interested in, it will feel more extracurricular than an additional obligation.

3. Budget your time. If you are unable to make a commitment for a significant amount of time (e.g. board involvement), get involved in community-wide programs or events such as your business’ participation the United Way’s Day of Caring or Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure. Being realistic about the amount of time you can offer to a non-profit is essential because overcommitting can be detrimental to any non-profit. If time is an issue, consider the option of making a financial donation. Non-profit organizations can always use monetary donations or donations of supplies. Why not pass along those gently used clothes your kids grew out of?

David Wagner is the region president and chief administration officer of STF  and is responsible for managing the performance of the company, developing the firm regionally and leading client outreach. If you’d like to learn a more about David please visit his bio or contact us at our Tulsa office or connect with him on LinkedIn