Last Updated November 10, 2023 (originally published November 30, 2021)
With the holiday season nearly upon us, it’s a good time to think about some of the countless ways that you can support your community. For even greater impact, consider enlisting the help of your clients, which can build camaraderie and continued rapport as you work together to help others in need. While community service ideas are seemingly endless, volunteering at a local charity or non-profit organization and hosting a fundraiser (remote or in-person) are two amazing—and more accessible—ways you can give back to your community.
Volunteer at a Local Charity or Non-profit Organization
The first step is to identify a cause that is important to you and that also resonates with your clients. Start by choosing two to three issues that are close to your heart (e.g., people experiencing homelessness, food insecurity, childhood health and pet adoption centers). Next, poll your clients and ask which cause they would like to support this season. This allows you to get greater buy-in from your clients, which, in turn, will foster greater involvement.
Once the top cause has been identified, search for a few local organizations that work to address that issue. To save time while researching, reach out to a few organizations at one time, since some organizations may not be currently taking volunteers. Inquire about volunteer opportunities they offer, and how you can get your team involved.
You will need to see what dates, times and locations are available for the volunteer opportunities. Then, ask your clients what works for most of them. Remember, you will likely not be able to choose a date and time that works for everyone, and that’s O.K. Choose the time that works for?most?people.?Organizations often allow a group of people to volunteer at various times on a particular day of the week, which would allow more people in your group to attend based on their availability.
From there, you and your clients just need to show up to volunteer and put in a good dose of energy into the cause you chose. Have some fun with it and perhaps bring hot chocolate or something festive to help everyone get in the spirit of giving back. Lastly, never forget to thank everyone for showing up and putting in the hard work.
Hosting a Fundraiser
The same steps above apply to hosting a fundraiser, so you will need to choose a cause and an organization to support. There are some legal things to consider with fundraisers, such as the possible need to register your fundraising event with your Secretary of State (this is a step often overlooked by businesses). Please refer to your Secretary of State’s website to determine what is necessary for you to host a fundraiser, or speak with your lawyer to get a better idea of what is permissible in your state or area.
Alternatively, you could host a remote fundraiser in partnership with the organization you want to support. Many times, these organizations offer a fundraising website on which you and your clients can create a team page. This is often the easiest way to fundraise for the organization of your choice.
Once a fundraising portal is set up, you can choose how you want to raise funds. Ask your clients what they would like to do to earn donations. For example, they might ask friends and family to donate $1 for every mile they walk, run or bike, or for every pound they lift in a week or month. Folks can donate money to the cause however they wish, but encourage involvement by making it fun.
If you decide to host an event in a public space, be sure that you follow local laws about what is allowed in that space. To learn more (and earn 0.1 ACE CECs), check out this course on Shared-Use Agreements for Outdoor Fitness, which will teach you how to communicate effectively with local government officials and leverage best practices for the use of shared spaces.
Let ACE Know What You Do
Doing something positive for your community alongside your clients can foster a greater sense of connection. This helps build greater trust and deepens the relationship you have with your clients—and your community—so enjoy the added benefit. We would love to see what events or causes you and your clients decide to host this year, so use #ACEprosgiveback to let us follow along.
To learn more about what other ACE Pros are doing to make an impact on their local communities, read Reaching New Communities and Breaking Down Barriers and Movement as Culture: Celebrating Native American Heritage Month.??