Some of our favorite memories from college happen during philanthropy events. Each of our chapters has its own unique events and they all hold a special place in our hearts. Service is one of the things that ties sorority women together and giving back to the community is important to all NPC organizations. Like many things this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed what engaging in service and philanthropy looks like. But that doesn’t mean that we should strive any less to do good.
During the 2019-20 academic year, collegiate members volunteered 1.3 million hours and raised over 9.8 million dollars. And, while the pandemic may have made it harder to do the activities we’ve done in the past, the need for service and philanthropy is as great, if not greater now.
Whether it’s rethinking chapter events or finding ways to give back as an individual, here are few ideas on how to volunteer during this pandemic.
Those traditional philanthropy events may not be able to happen in person, but they can happen virtually. Instead of a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, try turning it into a video game tournament. Do you usually do a 5k? You still can! Have people register and record their walks or runs using tracking apps like Nike Run Club or FitBit. The key to these types of events, as if they were in person, is to plan them early and get the word out. Use social media to get others excited about your event.
Picked up a new hobby or gotten back into an old one in this time? You can channel that creative energy into some good. Knitted or crocheted goods can be donated to organizations in need. Warm Up America collects knitted or crocheted blankets to donate to families in need. Knots of Love collects beanies and baby blankets to donate to premature babies and patients undergoing chemotherapy. Not sure how to make a beanie? They have templates on their website for you to follow.
Other crafts like no-sew dog blankets are great for shelters or guide dogs in training. Reach out to any shelters in your area that could benefit from these and then order some fleece.
Want to make facemasks for others? You can recycle some old t-shirts into cloth masks. Several organizations are collecting them and other personal protective equipment (PPE) for those who may not be able to buy them themselves.
Contact-Less Food Options
Food is always a hit on a college campus or a great way to get people involved. Try reaching out to a local restaurant with delivery and carry-out options to see if they would be willing to host a fundraiser where a percentage of their sales during a certain date/time would go to your philanthropy. Chipotle has a program for these types of events.
You can also organize a socially distant pick up or drop-off of food items during a bake sale. Make sure to check and follow your campus or state guidelines on gatherings and distributing food.
Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” TED Talk can apply to many things, including philanthropy. Inspiring people to act or give a donation is more successful when they understand your motivation for being involved with the cause. And, with people spending more time online these days, it’s a perfect opportunity for awareness.
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” – Simon Sinek
You can do a number of things like:
- Highlight and amplify organizations that are doing work in your community.
- Highlight your organization’s foundation or philanthropy partner.
- Post information and statistics as to how many people are affected.
- Post a call to action and how people can get involved.
It can coincide with national or international days of awareness. For example, Oct. 8, 2020, was World Sight Day, and November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. These occasions make your post more timely and relevant to those who read it.
Isolation has hit everyone, but some groups such as seniors were hit extra hard. Efforts like the Snail Mail Social Club are matching letter writers to those in need. I signed up and matched with a nursing home and a senior citizen who is living on their own. Check to see if retirement homes or senior centers in your area are running their own programs. There are pen pal programs for children in foster care, incarcerated people and long-term patients..
If you don’t want to commit to a pen pal, there are several other organizations and groups you can write for. Organizations such as Operation Gratitude collect cards or letters to send to military members and first-responders. It’s a great opportunity to get crafty making your own cards and spread some joy. If you get writer’s block, check out Cards for Kindness. They collect blank handmade cards to distribute to nurses, counselors, parents and volunteers to write messages of encouragement and love to people in need. A bonus to letter writing is buying stamps helps support the U.S. Postal Service.
There are a ton of ways to stay involved in serving your community. A little creativity goes a long way to turn roadblocks into opportunities because the pursuit of doing good is never done.
Have more ideas? Let email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add them to this list for others to use.