[Publisher's note: This article was provided by Blackbaud, a maker of fundraising software. Blackbaud is a PJ business partner.]
By Rachel Hutchisson
I believe we all have so much to give, regardless of our income level or what we have achieved at work.
Maybe that's because I take a broad view on giving - what it is and what forms it takes.
Giving back is the right thing to do.
I believe that it makes the world a better place.
Does it solve all the world's problems?
No. But it helps.
And it reminds each one of us that individual action can and does make a difference.
Today, giving back is more important than ever.
Nonprofits are facing increased demand for their services, so it's more important than ever for both individual people and organizations to step up and help.
In doing so, you can get creative in your organizational appeals, moving from simply asking for donations to incorporating other forms of philanthropy that can help your organization thrive and grow.
First, stop thinking about volunteerism as something that only involves manual labor or basic administrative tasks.
Volunteers can and do play a huge role in the nonprofit world, and they can help your nonprofit far more by sharing their talents.
This is called skills-based volunteerism.
Independent Sector, a nonprofit, nonpartisan coalition of approximately 600 charities, foundations, and corporate philanthropy programs, estimates that the value of a volunteer hour is about $20.
But when a person gives their time to provide skilled assistance -- accounting, human resources, marketing, legal help, website development, whatever -- the value of each hour goes up dramatically, as does their impact on the organization, thus making their volunteer experience even more rewarding.
On the other hand, some may not be interested in sharing the professional skills they use day-in and day-out at work.
Instead, they may want to try something new or keep skills from getting rusty.
So, in this case, give options for volunteering where people can be on a committee or serve on a work group as a way to expand thier horizons.
Get creative in appeals, by suggesting that potential volunteers move outside their comfort zone.
They will learn a tremendous amount, gain valuable experience and add to their resume all while helping a nonprofit, all of which is, again, rewarding and appealing.
Ask individuals to become your organization's philanthropic champion.
They can actually take an active role in suggesting ways to get people involved, volunteer to run a program that encourages giving back, or creating an online event to raise awareness, get more volunteers and raise funds.
This way, your volunteers are extending the organization's impact even more.
Remember, encourage individual action that truly makes a difference.
Volunteers want to be rewarded and feel as though their involvement is making an impact.
When your volunteers are passionate about the cause, your organization will grow.
So this holiday season, when people are digging deeper to give, don't be afraid to let them know you will happily accept gifts in any form.
Rachel Hutchisson is director of corporate relations and philanthropy for Blackbaud Inc.