JoAnn Turnquist, who hails from central Carolina, sees the benefits from supporting local nonprofits every day:
One of my favorite Midlands activities during the summer is visiting our many local farmers’ markets. In addition to the fun of shopping for fresh, in-season produce, I enjoy knowing that my purchases are helping our local farmers and our local economy. This Saturday, when I was strolling through the Soda City Market, it struck me that there wasn’t much difference between buying local tomatoes and investing in local charities.
So, if we embrace the concept of supporting our local economy, why do so many of our charitable dollars go to national and international causes? Perhaps the media attention these causes receive raises our awareness. Perhaps, the scope of need captures our attention. Local causes can be hard to find but, when we do, our gifts can make a tremendous impact, an impact we can witness firsthand.
Here are five additional reasons to ‘give locally’:
1. The confidence of knowing where and how the dollars will be used.
When giving our charitable dollars, we need to be confident our money is going to a trusted source. When we give locally, we receive the confidence of knowing where and how the dollars are being spent. Local non-profits understand and embrace the interests, values, and needs of the community and are given the responsibility of ensuring these needs are met. They often have fewer layers of administration, allowing for more of your dollars to go toward the service the nonprofit provides. Whether giving locally or not, always remember to research the organization before donating.
2. Giving locally allows us to see firsthand how our gifts are being put to work.
The work being done impacts the place where we live, allowing us to visit sites and talk directly with people who are impacted. We see this effect vividly when we give locally through volunteer work. Through volunteering, it is possible to see an immediate and direct impact of our work.
3. Investing in local nonprofits also has a positive economic impact.
Local nonprofits employ members of the community. They buy goods and services and contribute in many ways. We are all part of a larger community and make an impact on each other.
4. Local nonprofits encourage us to use our face-to-face skills.
In today’s digital world, it is easy to hide behind a screen, never taking the time to see what happens to our dollars after they are donated. Every day, the local organizations that improve our community depend on cooperation, trust, collaboration, selflessness, and empathy from the people they work with, including their donors. The key to their success requires them to engage with the community members who support them.
5. By supporting local charities, you contribute to the growth and improvement of the place you spend the most time in the world.
The communities we live in impact our lives more than any other place in the world. It is where our families bond and learn values, where we shop to provide our basic needs and indulge in activities to entertain ourselves and pursue personal growth. Our communities provide a large portion of our network and relationships. By giving to the place that provides so much for our daily life, we are investing in a better quality of life for ourselves and others.
Choosing to support your local community has lots of positive benefits, many of which you are sure to see and experience firsthand. In the end, giving locally improves our quality of life and helps build a stronger local community.
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