(BPT) – Giving back to your community is an important and powerful way to create positive change right where you live. In addition to making an impact on the lives of others, volunteering also offers personal benefits. According to the Cleveland Clinic, regularly volunteering can boost physical and mental health. Researchers have found that people who volunteer tend to have lower blood pressure, increased self-esteem, lower rates of depression and live longer.
Volunteering is also a great opportunity for building confidence and personal growth. By giving your time, skills and resources, you can greatly impact the world around you and show people what you value. Think of this as your personal brand. What do you want people to associate with your brand, and how do you want to demonstrate your commitment to social change?
Knowing how to give back effectively can be difficult if you haven’t volunteered before. And now, especially with charitable giving declining, according to GivingUSA.org, it’s important to find the right opportunities to make the most impact. Jenny Perez, executive director of the Herbalife Nutrition Foundation (HNF), offers a guide on how to give back to your community (and the world!) in small and big ways.
Identify your personal values and passions
Do you feel strongly that your neighborhood needs a community garden? Are you interested in building structures for people experiencing homelessness? Are you passionate about mentoring young minds? Or what about holding eco-friendly events like beach cleanups and clothing swaps?
It’s important to reflect on the issues close to your heart so you can find ways to give back that reflect your core values. For example, Herbalife’s global sustainability strategy, in partnership with the Herbalife Nutrition Foundation, focuses on helping communities around the world access nutrition and healthier lifestyles, fostering healthy communities both nutritionally and with a business opportunity, while also supporting a thriving planet. This aligns with the company’s commitment to changing people’s lives with quality nutrition and serving people in the more than 90 markets where its products are distributed.
Once you know what you’re passionate about and what you value, start looking for ways you can give back with your time and resources. You don’t have to commit your whole life to volunteering or other charitable actions. In fact, doing so may cause you to burn out quickly and turn your passion into a dreaded chore.
Think of small ways you can give back to those around you. For example, if you’re passionate about health issues, start a walking club in your neighborhood. If you want kids and adults in your neighborhood to have access to literature, establish a Little Free Library. Even mundane acts like donating your gently used clothing and shopping locally can make an impact and show your commitment to your values.
Learn about local projects
Your neighborhood or city likely already has social or charitable programs you can join. Do some research online or head to your local library to see what programs and initiatives are looking for volunteers or need resources.
If you have a green thumb, see if you can dedicate some of your free time to nurturing plants at the community garden. Look through your pantry and see if there are unexpired items you know you won’t use and donate them to your local food pantry. Local schools may need mentors and tutors, so ask around and see if your expertise can help a child succeed. Whatever interests you, chances are there’s a group you can join and make a difference in your community.
Get involved with volunteering opportunities at your workplace
Many businesses recognize the value of giving back to the community and encourage their employees to volunteer. Find out if your company or organization offers work volunteering opportunities.
Giving back to communities through volunteerism is central to our culture at HNF and at Herbalife, and part of how we fulfill our purpose of helping people live their best lives. We encourage employees to volunteer their time and skills for causes and communities that are important to them. In select regions, Herbalife even offers paid time off for employees to volunteer.
In addition, Herbalife dedicates a month for global volunteering and acts of service, our Global Month of Purpose. During the month, employees and Herbalife independent distributors give back to their communities, including at the 168 Casa Herbalife Nutrition Programs sponsored by HNF, which provide millions of dollars in funding to orphanages, hospitals, schools, and organizations in more than 59 countries. In 2023, across our countries in Asia, Herbalife employees donated 3,200 hours by volunteering in various activities benefiting people and the environment in Australia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Search for worldwide volunteerism
If your heart goes out to communities around the globe, you can make an impact even from a thousand miles away. Many national and international programs are tailored to the needs of local communities.
For example, World Food Program USA, Feed the Children, and The Global FoodBanking Network address hunger in the U.S. and worldwide. You can make donations to these organizations or find out if they have a local chapter that needs volunteers. If you want to travel to a foreign community, you can find an organization like Habitat for Humanity and build homes for unhoused families. No matter what you find, your time, money and skills are incredibly valuable and can make a global impact.
As a result of the pandemic and the increased need for community support, virtual volunteering opportunities are even more prevalent. Based on your skills and area of interest, there are several resources and databases that can help you find the ideal online volunteer opportunity. For example, United Nations Volunteers connects you with organizations working for peace and development that are seeking volunteers skilled in research, writing, art, and design. Additionally, virtual volunteer tools like Catchafire refine your search by skill, cause area and time commitment, helping match you with a fulfilling opportunity more efficiently.
These are just a few different ways, big and small, to give back to your local community and the world. Let these examples help you find ways every day to make the earth a better place and live out your values.
To learn more about the Herbalife Nutrition Foundation, and to show your support for #GivingTuesday, visit www.herbalifenutrionfoundation.org.