With Thanksgiving just around the corner you’re probably thinking about all you’re grateful for: good health, close friends, a loving family and delicious food. But what about those people whose lists are a bit shorter? The rush of the coming season makes it easy to focus our attention on things we want for ourselves (like finding the perfect outfit for that family dinner) and often leaves little room to think about others outside our circle.
Here’s how to have the best of both worlds: a fun party while giving back! Stress not included.
• Create an invitation on Tonic Events (events.tonic.com) for your guests. You can raise money for a cause that’s near and dear to your heart or choose one from their database. Set a fundraising goal and keep track of donations as they come rolling in.
• If helping out an aspiring entrepreneur is more your thing, check out kiva.org. The site facilitates peer-to-peer donation so you can lend money—through a microfinance partner—to anyone in the developing world. Pick someone you’d like to help and ask guests to chip in.
• Have party attendees bring in canned goods or clothes to donate to a local food bank (feedingamerica.org), the Salvation Army (salvationarmyusa.org) or Goodwill (goodwill.org).
• Set out info cards around the table explaining the charities you’ve chosen, what they have accomplished and how donations will help fulfill the organization’s mission.
• Place bins and boxes around your home for each type of donated item. This will make it super easy for you to pack up and distribute once your friends are long gone.
• Prepare appetizers from the country where your chosen entrepreneur lives.
• Going food shopping? Search for products that let you give back when you check out. Whole Foods has the Feed 100 reusable bag, which provides 100 meals to school children in Rwanda (wholefoodsmarket.com).