The headlines have made it official: We're in a recession.
In truth, this was no revelation. The economists' facts and figures only confirmed what most of us have been feeling for some time now -- painfully pinched. Like many of you, I'm making instead of buying my morning coffee, pushing my running shoes to go those few extra miles, and setting up carpools instead of driving solo.
But nowhere are the tight times more evident than in what I see with small nonprofits in Central Texas. Our neighbors who previously leaned on local nonprofits for support are now subsisting on those services. More dramatically, families who were once donors are now clients. The demands on nonprofits across the country are urgent, and they need your support.
As a working mom, statistics show it's likely you volunteer (at your local schools, with work or where you worship). The time you give makes you a vital and valued contributor to your community. But remember, there are some things that time can't buy, and those things are critical to an organization as it works to fulfill its mission and struggle to survive.
This holiday season, as you volunteer, consider doubling the impact of your gift by pairing it with a financial contribution. Take my coffee fund, for example. Three months ago, a co-worker inspired me to see what I could do with my latte-a-day savings. So, every morning as my Mr. Coffee churns out my wake-up brew, I add to a collection can on my kitchen counter what I would have spent on Starbucks. On the first of this month, the day the recession was officially announced, I called my local children's shelter and with those savings I bought six children a visit to the doctor.
I have seen the difference a dollar can make, and the great news is, I'm not alone. The Associated Press reports philanthropic giving is withstanding the tough economic times. Employees nationwide are choosing to donate in lieu of a holiday party, and seven out of 10 adults say this year they plan to spend less on holiday gifts and more on charitable contributions.
I invite you to join in. Find out more about the needs in your community, and discover how a little bit really does go a long way. What small portion of your budget could you redirect to help others? Coffee or Cocktail fund? Manicure? Hold the fries and hold onto that extra dollar? It's amazing what these small sacrifices can mean to others, when you put that money in the hands of a charity.