Human Resources

The Guideposts editor-in-chief shares tips on how to give back in tough times.

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Nobody’s got any money. It’s true. Everyone is broke. Most of us have never seen things this bad. I remember my father’s generation talking about the Depression. It always seemed like such a remote period of history, like talking about dinosaurs.

Now it doesn’t seem so distant. Not that we are there yet. But this downturn has really caused people to change the way they live to an extent that I have never seen. And as a Guideposts.com poll revealed last fall, the hard times are compelling folks to not only reassess their finances but their values as well.

One troubling consequence of a downturn like this one is that it produces greater numbers of people in need while generating less money to help them. Donations to non-profits (including GUIDEPOSTS) are down dramatically. So what can we do to help those that need help most?

More and more I hear about people and communities committing time and effort to good causes when money is not available. True, most charities and non-profits need your cash to survive and provide services. But when money is this tight, the only thing some people can still give is their time. Instead of just writing a check, they show up.

That’s a good thing, I think, because volunteerism really does connect us to a cause in a way a simple donation might not. And at the end of this fiscal crisis we just may find out that one of its good consequences is that it has made us all more responsive to the organizations that serve the least of us…in good times and in bad. It’s a great oppurtunity for all of us to get involved.

The other day I heard about two interesting faith-based environmental groups. The first, A Rocha, is an international effort that helps protect the environment in third world countries while also creating essential services and infrastructure such as clean water, health care and education.

The second, Green Hands USA, helps people develop their own community-based environmental projects.

And of course you can always become a GUIDEPOSTS prayer volunteer on ourprayer.org. Help us answer over a half a million annual prayer requests by name and need. In these tough times prayer is the most present help of all, for the pray-er as well as the prayed for.

Have an interesting way to help people when cash is short? I’d love to hear about it.  

Edward Grinnan is Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of GUIDEPOSTS.

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