Love Living Local

Volunteering with Lotus

Bloomington is rich in diversity, art, culture, and oppportunity.  On any given day, I might speak to someone from faraway country, interact with a different culture, see beautiful works of art, or eat delicious world-class food.  But my favorite thing about Bloomington is this community’s rich giving culture.  Bloomington is home to hundreds of nonprofits, services organizations, community organizations, religious organizations, and government agencies working towards a better community (in every sense of the word). Each day we have the opportunity to create a little good in our little pocket of the world.

Often when thinking about giving, it’s easy to see only one perspective. Giving back could be done a number of different ways (this list is in no way exhaustive):

  • Donating money to a particular organization
  • Donating money to a particular cause through an organization
  • Donating money to United Way at work who supports several nonprofits
  • Donating items for a community drive or starting your own
  • Donating professional skills to an organization
  • Volunteering time as a board member 
  • Volunteering time as a committee member 
  • Volunteering a committed time each week/month 
  • Volunteering for one-time events or service projects
  • Join a community group aimed at creating a better community
  • Joining a service club like Rotary, Lions, or Kiwanis
  • Participating in a government agency or committee meeting that is open to the public
Local makers Jaime Minor and Chelsea Jones donate skill and time to organize Bloomington Handmade Market (along with Jackie Howard and Talia Halliday- not pictured)

With so many opportunities to give money and time, it is almost overwhelming. Bloomington is lucky to have a great resource like Bloomington Volunteer Network to help find the right cause and organization for you.  I highly recommend perusing their website for volunteer positions or the nonprofit organizations page. City of Bloomington Boards and Commission meetings are listed on their webpages. Community groups are also easy to search on Facebook.   For any monetary donations, I suggest checking GuideStar for tips and a nonprofit’s transparency.

Donating time is just as important as giving money.  Many nonprofits in town depend on their volunteers in order to get work done.  Each summer nonprofits lose the student base of volunteers so consider volunteering this summer with your kids, family, and/or friends.  I have volunteered on weekly basis, as a committee member, at yearly or one-time events.  Each is just as worthwhile as the other. And you can use skills you already have.  Are you a whiz at social media?  Ask about donating time doing social media.  Are you a CPA? Donate services to a nonprofit.

So find your thing and give back to Bloomington.



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