Community involvement can mean different things to different people. It can be an excellent opportunity to bond with your fellow citizens while directly benefiting those in your community. Many people have particular causes or charities they like to support. Because of my previous career in law enforcement, I, personally, feel drawn to organizations that support police officers and their families, like the Chicago Police Foundation and the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation. 

That being said, there are many ways to get involved and actively participate in your community. Here are a few ways to get involved in your community with causes that resonate with you. 

Volunteering Time/Talent
One of the great ways to participate in community engagement programs, such as charity activities, is by volunteering your time. Most community organizations are in need of those who can volunteer their time and/or talents to further their cause. They generally have both short term and long term volunteering options, so whether you only have a few hours to give or a few days a week, you can show your support by getting involved. 

Giving your time to help with special events or activities, working closely with beneficiaries, or running for an office or chairmanship in the organization are all great ways to demonstrate positive concern for your community. You can also offer your own ideas on how to actively engage and improve various aspects of the community. 

Sometimes organizations will be in need of individuals with specific skills or talents. If you happen to be handy or really great at public speaking and fundraising, your talents may be particularly useful. I’ve noticed that people don’t always recognize their skills as a vehicle for impacting their community, so don’t discount this as a means of involvement. 

You might also consider spearheading a cause yourself by identifying a need in your community and gathering others who would be likely to help address that need. Sometimes you can rally local businesses around your cause. 

Donating Resources
Another way to become more involved in your community is If you happen to be in a financial position where you can donate to your chosen community organizations or raise funds on their behalf. When donating, I think it’s important to have an understanding of how the money is going to be used.

Many organizations, particularly around the holidays, will set up giving drives which are not just financial, but provide opportunities to make donations of goods and materials, such as canned food, toys, and winter clothing drives. Donations of resources to social programs within the community can be a very effective way to get involved.

Something to keep in mind is that your employer may be willing to make in-kind donations matching a percentage of whatever you donate to the cause. Some companies have policies that encourage their employees to give back to the community by offering this type of incentive. 

Shopping Locally
Sometimes, you may show involvement in your community by doing more passive activities, such as shopping locally. Instead of visiting stores in large malls in the nearby town, you may endeavor to visit the local shopkeeper and purchase your groceries. Doing so is an act of supporting the local economy and livelihoods of the local business people. Not only that, shopping locally lets you get to know those in your neighborhood. 

Supporting Local Talent
There is no better way of helping to improve the society around you than supporting upcoming talent. Luckily, there exist different opportunities for you to make a significant impact in that regard. For example, mentoring young people and aspiring business people on how to succeed in life lays a good foundation for them to follow your track record of performance. You may also endeavor to support local sporting activities by attending sporting events. Supporting causes that directly impact the youth in your community is essentially an investment in the future of your community.

In today’s society it’s so easy to become isolated in our own little bubbles that we forget we’re part of something larger. However you choose to become involved in your community, it is well worth the effort.

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