Giving back and spreading kindness is not only hugely rewarding for those on the receiving end, but science has also proven that you’ll experience some pretty astonishing mental and physical health benefits from your good deeds. Undeniable benefits aside, it can sometimes be challenging to find a way to give back that’s accessible and fits in with your life – which is why starting small and focussing on your local community is often the best approach. We’ve collated a few of our favourite ideas for giving back and spreading kindness in your community.
1. Support a worthy cause
Supporting existing, established local charities that resonate with your values is an easy way to contribute to ongoing change. At First National Real Estate, we recognise that our youth shape our future communities. Today’s young people are exposed to unprecedented outside pressures through social media. They need more support than ever before, which is why we’re a major sponsor of Kids Helpline.
It’s a charity established to “help children and young people access the confidential guidance they need to cope with problems like cyber-bullying, depression, homelessness, mental health or suicidal thoughts,” says First National Foundation Chairman, David Lovell.
To support existing charities, you can start your own fundraisers (with something as simple as a bake sale in your workplace or a social media challenge) to collect donations. You can also team up with some charities and provide direct support. This doesn’t always need to be monetary either – for example, you can donate blood, used clothing, or your time at a local soup kitchen or serve on a community board.
2. Clean up your community
Pollution is a worldwide issue, with many not-for-profits assembling volunteers to pick up litter en masse. Locally, plenty of charities organise community clean-up days – both on land and on the coast. But why wait for an event? Bring positive change to your doorstep by dedicating a realistic amount of time each week to collecting litter in your community. For example, aim to head out for a one-hour walk each week armed with rubber gloves and a bag to collect every bit of litter you come across. This small act can inspire others, benefits your local environment, and will deliver the mood-boosting benefits of giving back.
3. Support sport, support local youth
Whether your kids are involved or not, offering a helping hand to local youth sports clubs is a type of volunteering that goes a long way. Sport teaches kids plenty of essential life skills – from teamwork to responsibility and leadership – and gives them a vital opportunity to socialise in a stable and supported environment. Many sports clubs run on a shoestring budget, so help is always valued, and there are plenty of crucial roles to fill. And for many of these roles, it doesn’t matter if you’re an expert in the code or not.
4. Give back to our older generations
Isolation and loneliness are some of the elderly’s most significant ailments, especially when they live in care homes away from family and loved ones. According to the experts, socialisation for seniors can improve mood, cognition, memory recall and is associated with healthy behaviours, including exercise. If you don’t have elderly family or friends you can visit, offer companionship to those in a senior care centre in your local area. This can be as simple as letter writing or visiting a centre regularly. And if you’ve got little ones in tow, try taking them to an intergenerational playgroup. They’re a fun outing for mums and babies and quickly become a weekly highlight for the elderly.
5. Compassion that’s close to home
If you’ve got neighbours or family members that live alone or could do with a helping hand, provide them with a support system that they know they can rely on. Start with small actions to show that you’re there for them, like mowing your neighbour’s lawn while doing your own, inviting them over for tea and a chat, or making a double batch of brownies to share. With family, drop over a premade dinner, offer to pick up nieces, nephews or cousins from school one day a week, or whisk them away to a movie on the weekend. Small gestures like these don’t require a huge amount of effort, but they do go a long way.
6. Get behind local businesses
Make a conscious effort to channel your spending into smaller businesses in the local community. While this isn’t always possible for larger purchases, kickstart the habit by choosing locally-owned cafes over nationwide (or international) chains, visiting local produce markets once a week instead of relying on supermarket produce, and working towards giving fast fashion the flick in favour of homegrown garments. Supporting local businesses helps your community thrive, which as a bonus, makes it a more desirable place for you and others to live.
7. Lend a literal hand
Sharing your skills within the community is an easy way to give back that won’t cost you a cent – only your time. If you’re a superstar behind the sewing machine, host a local training session; if you’re a master at maths, offer to tutor local students; know how to organise a great event; help a local organisation looking to pull something together. Education is a major barrier to success, so any skills you can share within your community will have an instant and lasting impact.
First National is dedicated to building stronger communities too
Our First National Real Estate offices are closely involved with every community we are a part of. The First National Foundation – the philanthropic arm of First National Real Estate – was founded for this very reason. To consolidate the network’s fundraising efforts and strengthen local communities. Every year our members raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to help their local communities during natural disasters and everyday life. This support includes money for schools, funding community building events, healthcare support and local sporting organisations.
Any good deed, whether big or small, can create positive change. By spreading kindness within your local community, you’ll find a ripple effect of positivity – both within you and the people around you.
If you are looking to find your perfect community, talk to your local First National Real Estate office today for obligation-free guidance. Or, to donate to the First National Foundation, pop into your local First National Real Estate office and find out more.