On Giving Back.

Today is Giving Tuesday!

I wanted to share some simple ideas for how to give back. I feel a little bit weird writing a post about giving back as it sounds a little self-righteous. Like, “look at me and all these good things I do, aren’t I great!?” Ew gross. So just know that isn’t the point of this post. I am fortunate to have a large(ish) platform over here and while it’s fun talking about fashion and beauty and pretty things, it would feel like a huge miss to me to not talk about giving back.

I don’t want to be preachy. Some of you are likely living paycheck to paycheck. In that case, volunteer or do some of the smaller things I listed out at the bottom of the post. Others of you are new parents and/or working a hundred hours a week and/or just don’t have much free time. In that case, maybe donating money is a better option. There’s a way for everyone to give.

I also want to stress that no good deed is too small. The little stuff adds up and if we all did one little thing every day it would add up and make a big difference.

Lastly, giving is personal! I think it’s important to find causes + charities that you’re passionate about and support them with your time, your money, or both if you are able to! We all have different interests, strengths, and political views and you should play to those strengths and interests when thinking about how to give back! I’m going to share the charities I choose to support below, but I really encourage you to find one (or a few) that align with your own views, and help them as much as you are able to. Similar to my stance on voting, I don’t care who you give to… or whether you give your time or money… it’s that you’re doing it that matters.

Giving your time.

Volunteering is so important (and humbling) and frankly something I don’t do enough of. I am pretty good about regularly donating to charity but my time is where I fall short. One of my goals for 2019 is to volunteer at least once a quarter. I know that’s small BUT it’s more than I am doing now. I also really want to organize a reader meet-up via the Facebook Group where we all volunteer together (honestly I’m not even sure where to begin though, so please let me know if you have thoughts/suggestions there or want to get involved with that)!!!!

When I DO volunteer, it’s through New York Cares. You go through a very simple orientation and then you can select from hundreds of ways to volunteer every week. And you can choose things that line up with your interests or state of mind. For example – some days the idea of volunteering at a homeless shelter might feel particularly daunting or emotional, so you can do something easier like read or do crafts with kids. Maybe you’re a good cook, or maybe you love kids… there is always something to do that will line up with your interests.

Giving your Money.

Talking about donating to charity can be almost as daunting as talking about politics! Everyone has an opinion – it can get political, or people will jump down your throat and tell you you should be donating to a cause they think is better or more important. I think that’s really silly as it discourages the spirit of helping others which is what’s important.

I donate to UNICEF every year as I love their mission and they are very efficient – 88% of all donations go directly toward children in need. Also, I support 100cameras which helps to empower children, support communities, AND foster the arts. This is a favorite and I used to be on their advisory board! The other charities I love and regularly donate to are the ASPCA (because duh, animal lover), She Should Run (I love their mission), RAICES, and The ACLU.

One thing my family and I have done in years past is to skip gifts and make donations in each other’s names. I really liked it and it was fun to see which charities each family member selected.

With your things.

There are so many great organizations that give to women in the city. I am a blogger and dealing with an excessive amount of stuff, so I donate things every couple months… but I definitely recommend doing a big clean out (New Year’s resolution?) and donating everything that doesn’t fit. Or you could sell it on something like Poshmark or The RealReal and then donate the money to charity. I donate gently used clothing and beauty products to Dress for Success and Coalition for the Homeless.

Little Things That Add Up.

Buy extra canned goods at the grocery store and donate them to your local homeless shelter.

Fill older handbags with feminine care products and toiletries and bring them to a shelter.

Get a group of friends together and pick up trash for a couple hours. Make a morning/afternoon out of it and get brunch afterward!

Offer to help an older neighbor with yard work.

Make handmade cards for kids in the hospital. Most young patients can’t accept unsolicited visitors – but “get well soon” cards will help lift their spirits.

Organize a winter coat drive at the office or with your group of friends.

These are just SOME ways to give back. I’d love to hear your suggestions. What are your favorite ways to give back?

Leave a Comment

Comments

  1. Cy says 11.27.18

    We are lucky at the hotel, we have an amazing charity liason manager who organizes volunteer opps and ways to give back all year long. Like you though, I need to volunteer more, I usually donate money or gifts. It’s true every little bit helps. I love the idea of helping an elderly neighbor. I feel like people forget how much help they need, even if they are not in assisted living. Thanks for the reminder, Grace. And no it’s not preachy. We all just have to do our best.

  2. Lauren says 11.27.18

    Another suggestion, volunteer through your company. Mine gives every employee 8 hours of paid volunteer time each year and has a website dedicated to volunteer events that they sponsor. It’s a great way to give back, meet new people in your company and even network a bit. Great post!

  3. I love your ideas! I stand by always doing the little things. Sometimes, a little post-it note of encouragement is all someone needs. 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  4. Elizabeth says 11.27.18

    Hi Grace!! I am on the Board of the Letter Project and we are so grateful that you included us on a blog post last year. We would LOVE to organize a letter writing event with you, whenever it would be convenient. If you are at all interested, I live in NYC and would be happy to coordinate everything for an event to support girls and women around the world!!

    Best,
    Elizabeth
    Hello@toloveourselves.com

  5. Leah says 11.27.18

    Grace – thanks for this post! Do you know of any coat drives currently going on (or approaching) in NYC? I have a few I’d like to donate but haven’t seen much up to this point!

  6. Sarah says 11.27.18

    If you’re up for it, I try to give blood regularly! It’s an easy way to help people who really need help and it doesn’t cost anything for you. Most blood drives are a little low during the holiday season, so an especially great time to donate!

  7. Heather says 11.27.18

    Love the donation ideas! One thing that I recently learned is that donations of canned goods to local food banks, while wonderful, are slightly less helpful than giving what you can monetarily to a food bank. Since the food banks often get the goods at wholesale, they can do more with your $5 (even buy fresh produce and sometimes protein!) than you can at the grocery store. If you have canned goods, by all means, donate them! But if you’re able to give even $5, $10, $20 directly to the food bank, they might be able to feed even more folks with a wider range of options.

    Thanks for this guide – super helpful today!

    • grace at the stripe says 11.27.18

      Oh my gosh thank you so much for the tip! Great to know and totally makes sense!

  8. Brianna Rooney says 11.27.18

    LOVE this Grace! It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday season but so important to give back. If I was local to NYC, I would love to do a group volunteer effort with you.

    Each holiday season I collect toiletries for survivors of human trafficking and work with a group to get together to stuff bags called “Hope Bags” and write notes to those receiving the bags. A lot of the time they’ll have this bag for months until something more permanent is set up for them so it’s super important – I really take advantage of how much stuff I have readily available in my medicine cabinet (don’t we all!)

    Also, my office lets us use “billable” work time to give back and we track our hours! Our office of 7 people has spent almost 150 hours volunteering in 2018, really great when you have people leading by example and encouraging you to give your time.

  9. dana mannarino says 11.27.18

    Love your suggestions, Grace! This Tuesday, I’m giving back to one of my favorite foundations — The Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation. They do unbelievable things for our military and first responders…and their families!

    The Champagne Edit

  10. Christina says 11.27.18

    Bottomless Closet is another great place to donate clothes and beauty products for women. They are local in NYC and help women transitioning into the work force. (You can also volunteer with them!)

  11. Kathryn JJ says 11.27.18

    This is the perfect post for this time of year.
    Thank you for it. I like to donate to the food bank at Thanksgiving turkeys are so appreciated along with canned goods and you gave me some great ideas.
    Love the picture on instagram with Tryrion.
    His face!!! Really love the sweater from Zara iI ould love to know, if you don’t mind what size you bought it looks great on you.
    Thanks Grace

  12. Kathryn J says 11.28.18

    Thank you for posting about giving. Its the perfect post for the season. I always
    donate at Thanksgiving at the food bank but am never sure what to do at Christmas.
    Was looking at you and Tryion he’s a beautiful cat. What size did you buy in the sweater from Zara. Really liked it looks great on you but not sure of size. If you can, please tell me. Thank you