5 ways you can benefit from giving back to your community

5 ways you can benefit from giving back to your community

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There's no denying that warm and fuzzy feeling that comes from doing a good deed. There's even evidence that it's good for your health. According to Cleveland Clinic, helping others can actually lower your blood pressure, decrease stress and ultimately increase your lifespan. Plus, there's the satisfaction of knowing that you've made the world a better place — if only in a small way.

No matter how you choose to give back to your community, the important thing is to take action. Not only will you reap the rewards of health and personal fulfillment, but the people you serve will benefit from your service just as much. It might require you to get outside your comfort zone and sacrifice a little bit of time, but you'll never regret it.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Find ways to volunteer

The fastest way to make a difference in your community is by volunteering for a worthwhile cause. Local charities and organizations are always in need of extra help, so opportunities to get involved abound. If you don't know where to start, sites like VolunteerMatch, the Red Cross and JustServe make it easy to find events and organizations near you that are looking for volunteers. Find something you're passionate about — whether that's rescuing kittens, coaching young athletes, feeding the hungry or something else — and go for it.

Serve on a committee or board

You might not think you've got the time to serve on a local committee or board, but doing so could prove to be a good investment in your professional future. Writing for Forbes, Amanda Brinkman identified several ways in which serving on a nonprofit board could positively impact your career. Among these, Brinkman lists developing leadership skills, expanding your network and learning to think like a CEO as some of the benefits of taking on this role.

"There are organizations that can help match you with nonprofits in need of pro-bono services — for example, Taproot Foundation and Voolla," Brinkman writes. "Or you may choose to attend a business-networking meeting in your community, find out which nonprofits in the community have needs and strike your fancy, then raise your hand."

At the local level, the Salt Lake Chamber has several committees that might benefit from your expertise and experience.

5 ways you can benefit from giving back to your community
Photo: Dragana Gordic/Shutterstock.com

Attend events near you

Local businesses and organizations put a lot of work into organizing events that benefit individuals and the community at large — and your attendance makes a big difference. If you want to expand your network as a female professional, consider attending the Business Women's Forum Spring Mixer. Get involved in an upcoming fundraiser. Turn your date night into a philanthropic adventure by buying tickets for the Utah Food Bank's "Night at the Warehouse Gala."

For a full list of upcoming local events, visit the Salt Lake Chamber events page.

Shop small

You don't have to wait for Small Business Saturday in November to shop at local businesses. These shops need your support all year round! Shopping small doesn't just help the store owners, either — it helps everyone. It's better for the environment, it creates jobs and it directly benefits your local community.

"For every $100 spent at a local business, $68 stays in that town. Spending $100 at a national chain means only $43 stays in town," Bridget Weston Pollack writes for the U.S. Small Business Administration.

To find small businesses near you, you can use this store locator from American Express.

Make a donation

When you truly are short on time but still want to help those in need, making a donation is a quick and easy way to do it. Clear out your pantry, gather your children's gently-used clothes they've outgrown or simply write a check to a local charity.

5 ways you can benefit from giving back to your community
Photo: SeventyFour/Shutterstock.com

One very important donation you might consider is something that could end up saving lives: giving blood. The American Red Cross reports that every two seconds in the U.S., someone needs blood and/or platelets and this is something they can only get through volunteer donations. Unfortunately, only about 3% of eligible donors contribute to the blood bank each year. If you meet the necessary requirements — especially if you're a universal donor with that coveted type O blood — you can make a big difference by participating in a local blood drive.

There's no limit to the good you can do

When it comes to making a positive impact on your community, there are countless ways to do it. You don't have to do everything on this list — but even one action, however small, can have long-lasting ripple effects.

For more ideas on how to get involved in the community, visit slchamber.com.

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