It’s important to take care of our neighborhoods and communities, and there are plenty of ways to get involved on a local level. However, the interconnectedness of our towns and cities thanks to travel and technology means that helping at a national level is equally important. These are some ways that you can give on a national level.
Each year, Giving Tuesday is celebrated on the first Tuesday in December, after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It kicks off the charitable giving season when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year donating. This article is a third of four (here’s the first, second, & fourth) we published on the Tuesdays leading up to Tuesday, December 3rd, to share a variety of ways you can give this year.
Ways to Give on a National Level
The organizations below are but a small slice of the opportunities available to you at a national level. Whether you want to support the efforts financially or through volunteering, your contributions go a long way toward addressing some of the key issues facing our country.
United Way of America
The United Way of America is a national charitable organization operating throughout the country via different local chapters.
The United Way mission focuses on four pillars, including early childhood success, youth success, financial stability, and healthy communities.
The organization has three big goals for the next decade that pertain to the 1,000 cities and towns in which they are active.
They aim to help 5 million people secure better jobs, see that 95% of kids leave high success prepared for college and career, and that 90% of the people in their communities live healthier lives.
To achieve these goals, the United Way engages in fundraising through its local chapters. Funds are then pooled and redistributed.
United Way then uses the money to provide support services to communities itself, and they also donate to other local nonprofits that have systems in place to help those who are most in need.
As a humanitarian organization, the Red Cross often reminds people of international relief efforts. The work that the Red Cross does on a national level is significant as well.
They provide disaster relief and recovery services in times of crisis. This year alone, the Red Cross has provided support throughout the United States after hurricanes and wildfires to ensure that people have shelter and food, among other necessities.
There are several ways to support the disaster relief efforts of the Red Cross. The Red Cross does, of course, need financial support.
More so, you also have the ability to support the Red Cross by giving on a personal level. By making one-time or regular blood and platelet donations, you can provide life-giving support to people across our country.
Hunger is a widespread issue in our country, even if we don’t always see or feel the impacts personally. In fact, some estimates say that 1 out of every 7 people in the United States is going hungry.
Feeding America is a national network that aims to alleviate some of that suffering with its network of food banks. To see how your community is impacted and to better understand food insecurity at a national level, explore the mapping tool on the Feeding America site.
If you’d like to support Feeding America financially, you can make direct donations on their site. They will also connect you with area food banks and food pantries if you’d rather donate money or goods there.
Additionally, Feeding America offers you the opportunity to volunteer your time. They encourage volunteering by emphasizing that 51% of food programs rely on volunteers to run.
Domestic violence can have a far-reaching effect on all family members. Because 99% of domestic abuse includes financial abuse, the Allstate Foundation created the Purple Purse. This organization aims to break the cycle of domestic violence through financial empowerment.
They take a multipronged approach by raising money to support national domestic violence programs, and they also look to educate people in response to abuse and also to proactively inform people to prevent future abuse.
Purple Purse accepts monetary donations to help support domestic violence victims. And if you are someone who is passionate about personal finance (hey, you’re here, aren’t you?!), you can also volunteer your time to help people sharpen their personal finance skills using curriculum that the Purple Purse developed.
Even equipping yourself with different talking points to offer support should you see signs of abuse can make a difference in the lives of many people.
Disabled American Veterans
As a nation, we owe a profound amount of gratitude to the military members who dedicate their lives to serving and protecting our country.
One small way that we can show that gratitude is to support organizations like the Disabled American Veterans. This nonprofit works to ensure that veterans receive the benefits they have been promised so they can lead rich lives full of dignity.
DAV does this in several ways. In addition to offering assistance to help veterans and their families get their benefits, they also offer community outreach. More so, they represent disabled veterans by championing these causes at the legislative, judicial, and executive levels of our government.
DAV presents three options for people to support veterans: donate, volunteer, and advocate.
In addition to making a financial donation, you can also give your time. One option is to drive a van for the DAV Transportation Network to help veterans attend various appointments and events. DAV also offers to connect people with service opportunities at their local VA Hospitals.
Finally, you can also give your time to help them achieve their policy goals to continue the fight for veterans’ rights and benefits.
National Park Service Volunteers
There is nothing quite like spending time outside. Making sure that this generation and future generations get to enjoy the beauty and wonder of our country is something each of us should consider. Volunteering through the National Park Service is one way to help that happen.
The National Park Service is committed to getting one million people to commit to helping out in our national parks and public lands. Depending on the position you choose, you might have a weekly or monthly commitment.
In other instances, you might have the option to participate in a one-time service project. People under the age of 18 are also welcome to volunteer with the consent of their parent or guardian. To explore the options and see volunteers in action, check out the Volunteers-In-Parks VIP video.
Explore More with National Volunteer Portals
There are countless causes to consider and myriad ways to get involved at the national level. If you want to explore other options for involvement, use the National Volunteer Portals to find organizations and causes that fit your interests.
Here are some of the topics you can explore using the USA.GOV Volunteer Portals page:
- First aid
- Disaster relief
- Elections and polling
- Water conservation
- Habitat restoration
Additionally, you may wish to explore medical and health-based causes that have impacted you, your friends, or your family. Using a search tool like Charity Navigator, you can evaluate national (and international) medical charities with a single click.
The charities are broken down into these four causes:
- Diseases, Disorders, and Disciplines
- Medical Research
- Patient and Family Support
- Treatment and Prevention Services
No matter where your interests and talents lie, and no matter what your schedule looks like, there is an opportunity for you to make an impact at a national level.
Understand the MLK Day of Service
Many people find themselves drawn to the idea of volunteering, but they don’t know when to start. Now is a perfect time. Another option to put on your calendar happens each January at a national level.
The MLK Day of Service is a national event that encourages communities around the country to join together in an effort to carry out the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
The event takes place on Martin Luther King Day each year. To explore opportunities to band together with a nation and give back, check out the MLK Day of Service site.
Final Thoughts on Giving Back at a National Level
Dr. King once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?” It’s a powerful question, and it can be overwhelming to figure out how to get started.
Once you determine if giving your time or giving your money is a better fit for you right now, start to consider the causes you care about as well. Chances are, there’s an organization waiting for volunteers like you to make an impact on a national level today.
Article written by Penny