The best way to give back to your community is to go beyond good intentions and take action, to show up with a willing heart; without knowing exactly what you are going to do.
The Spread Love movement was born out of my willingness to listen to the small voice within that told me to go. I not only listened, but I also showed up to the making strides against breast cancer walk with Polo dressed in a pink suit to show our support.
The ladies walking loved it and this one simple act of courage to overcome my excuses and fears is where the spread love movement began. That little pink suit I had altered to fit my french bulldog Polo was the first apparel item I ever made to support the Spread Love Movement.
Our mission and challenge to the world is to Spread Love. The easiest way to do this is to start locally.
At Spread Love Every Purchase Supports Someone in Need.
Click here to shop Polo Spreads Love Apparel and Merchandise.
When I first arrived at the Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do or how I could help. I felt uncomfortable and a little confused, but I pushed through my own discomfort and kept my intention set on showing up with an open heart to serve as needs presented themselves.
I am a man from Queens New York, so believe me, I wasn’t comfortable with this new heart posture or showing up to a sea of pink, but I was at a time in my life when I wanted to create change and snap out of the depressed mood I was in, and I had this intuitive sense that it was to start with serving others.
Now, 9 years later, I know that giving back and spreading love to others is the best way to feel your soul.
I am going to give you a list of easy ways to give support locally and the best ways to give back to the community but first I want to address a few reasons why people rarely move past the “good intentions" phase.
I already alluded to it but one of the biggest reasons people fail to volunteer or serve in their communities is FEAR. Closely followed by an overall feeling of lack. A lack of time, resources, and knowledge. The good news is ALL of these reasons can be overcome, so we can activate more people to join Polo and me in Spreading Love.
Top Fears People Have Around Volunteering Or Giving Back To Their Community.
- Fear of the unknown
- Fear of doing the wrong thing
- Fear of being uncomfortable in a new situation
- Fear of being enough
- Fear of not doing enough
- Fear of judgment
If you want to read more specifically on how to overcome these fears so you can move beyond good intentions into taking action, you can read more about this and how to overcome these obstacles as well as other obstacles to serving in your community in the blog post on why people don't volunteer and 3 incredible benefits of giving back.
Other reasons people fail to go beyond good intentions to give back are:
- lack of time
- lack of resources
- lack of knowledge
We are doing our best to not only lead the way in spreading love to set a good example, but also to equip you with resources with simple ways to unite good-hearted people with giveback moments.
When it comes to finding the time you have likely heard the expression “we find time for things that are important to us” so you will have to decide to get out of the vortex of your life, to take your eyes off of yourself and put them onto the needs of others. I promise you will become better for it.
Open your heart and start noticing the needs around you.
You will be blown away at how many opportunities there are to spread love near and far. It can be as simple as setting an intention and making the commitment by scheduling time on your calendar.
Lack of resources is an excuse as old as time. You don’t have to have a lot of means to give and to be generous. Generosity is a matter of the heart. My encouragement is to just start giving SOMETHING whether it be giving of service, giving of your talents, or of your time and money.
One of the best ways I know to spread love is to be willing to give. Giving of yourself and resources to spread love isn’t something that takes away from you. Giving to others opens you up to receiving back more than you can even imagine.
Try some of the simple ideas I am going to share on the best ways to give back to your community and you will see for yourself all of the benefits of spreading love. I know personally because I live this every day, and I cannot begin to express how much the spread love mission has blessed and changed my life.
Lastly, the final reason I have found that keeps people from volunteering or giving back to their community is a lack of knowledge. With the amount of information, we have access to it blows my mind how people are lost when it comes to how they can give back to their community.
This is precisely why I am writing this blog post, so you can see how easy it is to spread love to your local community. You can start a spread love movement in your area by becoming a spread love ambassador.
You can also check out my resource page on my website for links to some of my favorite charities and other ideas to unite good-hearted people like you with giveback moments.
As promised here is my list of ideas on the best ways to give back to your community this season.
- Shop local and support small businesses
- Buy and gift art from local artists
- Purchase from farmers' markets
- Volunteer at local nonprofits or churches regularly
- Donate to local causes on an ongoing basis
- Practice acts of kindness
- Look for people in need and don’t ignore the homeless
- Support fundraisers and giving trees
- Be neighborly
This is by no means an exhaustive list but it will for sure get you started spreading love locally. I thought you may want a bit more detail about these 10 ways to give back to your local community so I wanted to share a bit more for those who are interested.
Shop Local and support small businesses
There are incredible benefits to shopping locally. It not only provides local jobs but also puts revenue back into the local economy. Local shops have unique items and a friendly one-of-a-kind shopping experience. Also, it doesn’t end with stores, don’t forget to support local mom & pop restaurants and craft breweries or wineries in your area.
Beyond asking locals for referrals to their favorite places you can find them on yelp and on the white pages.
Buy and gift art from local artists
At spread love, we have commissioned local artists such as Jason Naylor to create exclusive designs for our Spread Love Apparel.
Local art can be found in many local shops and makes a unique and treasured gift to give yourself or others. The best part is it supports local artists and gives them money to keep spreading love through art and creativity.
Purchase from farmers' markets
Support local farmers! Not only will you find a variety of fresh, tasty, and quality fruits, herbs, and vegetables. At farmer's markets, you can also find handmade soaps, crafts, and jewelry.
It is a fun outing for the whole family and making this part of your life will give you access to items that support local families and allow you to meet and network with other people in your community.
Volunteer at local non-profits or churches regularly
Not only do causes and establishments that serve local needs require volunteers to function, but often these establishments like soup kitchens, shelters, food banks, and church charities, run primarily at the mercy of volunteers to help keep the doors of services like these open.
Places like this need ongoing volunteers to function properly, so when you choose a place to volunteer consider doing it on an ongoing basis, so you can help that cause meet the demand of giving back to those in need in your community.
Because of your willingness to serve ongoing they can help more people. Donate to local causes regularly Obviously cash is king so making regular and generous donations to local causes will make a massive impact on people living in your community.
If you are not the volunteering or the cash donation type, don’t disregard the fact that you can give of your talents and expertise on your terms. Charities, churches, and nonprofits need skills such as accounting, tech skills, web, and graphic design, project management, organizing, stocking, distribution, and more.
Everyone has gifts they can offer to these local causes, so we at spread love hope you are feeling motivated to give even a little to help a whole lot of people.
Practice acts of kindness
At the heart of spreading love is kindness. Acts of kindness can be a defining moment for the person on the receiving end.
Here are 16 ideas of how you can spread the love with acts of kindness every single day.
- Smile and acknowledge people
- Be patient
- Say Thank you
- Listen and be present
- Visit a senior center
- Play with a child
- Pay for someone's meal or coffee
- Be a servant to others
- Give a compliment
- Leave a tip
- Write a positive review
- Give an encouraging note
- Donate unused items
- Pick up trash/liter
- Chat with someone when you are in line
- Send Flowers
Look for people in need and don’t ignore the homeless
If you get present and begin to walk around with your eyes and ears open, with a heart to serve, you will find so many opportunities to spread love.
There are people around you every single day who need an encouraging word, to be noticed and acknowledged. Love is the strongest vibration and need on earth and you hold the power to wield it.
Next time you pass a homeless person acknowledge them, part with that dollar in your pocket, or consider asking them what they need. Don’t let them disgust or scare you, but instead see them as a human who needs the love that you can freely give.
Support fundraisers and giving trees
Next time the single mom passes around the fundraiser don’t ignore it. Fundraisers help great causes and support children's activities that some parents cannot afford. Giving trees is an easy way to give to families that do not have the means for necessities that we take for granted, or maybe a gift; that a child with little will cherish.
Begin to give in small ways that won’t hurt your budget. You may never know how your giving can impact another.
Living a life of generosity will give positive vibes all around leaving this world a happier place.
We are surrounded by people we ignore every day. You can spread the love by tuning in to people, instead of tuning them out. Instead of ignoring those in your atmosphere every day, start connecting and engaging with your neighbors.
Host a meet and greet bbq or potluck. Serve your neighbor by mowing their grass, taking out their trash, or helping them carry in the groceries. Give them a sweet note, fresh baked goods, or a simple gift.
In a world that is disconnected, busy, and overwhelmed be a light and spread love as only you can.
In closing, I just want to say. I have given you a lot of ideas and ways to give back to people who are in your world every day. Now it is time for you to take action and choose to
“Show Up, Smile, and Spread Love!”
Josh of Polo Spreads Love