Three (of Many) Hats of Social Impact : Which One(s) Do You Wear? 

If you know me, you know that I LOVE hats. My collection has grown to astonishing proportions. So this Giving Tuesday, I want to talk about hats in the figurative sense, as in the many hats of social impact. Which social impact hat(s) do you wear and how can you grow your reach? And if you’re in the early stages of thinking about how to have a social impact, read on for ideas about how to get a jump start. 

1. The Philanthropist – When we think of philanthropists, we often think of people with vast wealth who give huge sums to the causes, organizations, and institutions they care about. But even if you can only give $5, or if you can’t give anything at all, you’re still a philanthropist — a lover of humanity — if you show up for the issues you care about by sharing posts on social media, writing to lawmakers, volunteering, etc. 

As a young professional, I gave for the very first time in 200. It was just $500. 

If you’re in Central Texas and want to grow your philanthropy, here are some great places to start:

  • See Jane Give (part of the I Live Here, I Give Here movement)  – a yearly event to educate professional women about how philanthropy can become a bigger part of their lives 
  • The Women’s Fund at Austin Community Foundation – a nonprofit dedicated to educating and inspiring greater giving to improve the lives of women and children in Central Texas

And this holiday season, you can also up your philanthropy by donating to a friend or loved one’s favorite charity. Check out In Lieu for quick, easy platform to give InLieu of a gift. 

2. The Volunteer – One of the most precious gifts you can give is your time. Having spent the majority of my career in the nonprofit sector, I’ve seen firsthand how the time you give uplifts not only the group the nonprofit serves but also staff members. Think about how uplifting it is, for example, for foodbank staffers to see community members standing in solidarity with them, or team members at domestic violence shelters. Yes, your time means the world to the community you’re serving, but your donation also means so much to the people who do that work for a living. The time you give is absolutely precious to everyone on the continuum. Your gift means the world. 

3. Change Maker – Maybe you don’t want to donate money or time to a particular organization. That’s okay. There’s plenty you can do on your own. Write a letter to your local paper, call or write lawmakers. Make connections with others who are working in the space where you want to see change. For example, if you want to see your community become more environmentally responsible, join a trail, watershed, etc. clean-up event and invite someone out for coffee later. Building relationships with like-minded individuals is truly one of the greatest ways you can collectively influence change, and this is a time of year people are particularly open to connecting. 

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