Let’s keep this simple… goodness knows you’re probably busy enough as it is. Still, if you’re interested in making a charitable investment in your community, here are four ideas that are doable and offer impact.

Learn. Gaining greater knowledge about your nonprofit community is an excellent first step. Nonprofit staff and leaders know about one another, make referrals, brainstorm with each other, and often meet formally. Invite a nonprofit leader for coffee. Seek out referrals of other nonprofit leaders they see as collaborative, effective, and capable. You’ll gather some helpful insights that can affect your next-step investments.

And, if you’re still wondering or confused, come see us at the Community Foundation. We can provide ideas to help you on your path.

Volunteer. From loading food, to licking envelopes, to serving as a board member, many nonprofits can put a dedicated volunteer to work. Keep in mind that each charity has unique needs and limited workspaces. So, a decline of your offer isn’t personal. It’s often just practical.

Still, be proactive. Visit LoudounCares http://volunteer.loudouncares.org/user/register to match your unique skills and interests with requests from area charities.

And, if you have special talents, be sure to bring those up or detail them. Do you love strategic planning? Feel just fine asking a friend for a gift? Love numbers and budgets? Have a background in media, law, or human resources? Those skills are prized in many nonprofit organizations.

Share. Charities are challenged by limited resources, to be sure. It’s just the name of the game. Be their ambassador. You can tell their story with friends at the backyard BBQ. You can share their message via social media. You can praise their work through a letter to the editor. Hearing it from you is twice as impactful as hearing it from them.

Donate. Nothing says investment like a financial gift. Once you find a nonprofit that addresses a cause close to your heart, show your support with a gift. If you have the resources, make a gift of publicly traded stock or securities (there are notable advantages to you, the donor, and is just as meaningful to the charity).

And, remember, even a small gift makes a difference.

The highest gift? Include a legacy gift in your will. Think long term. The Community Foundation specializes in personalized endowment funds that can serve as a forever fund for a specific charity. An endowment nest egg can make the difference for a charity and its mission generations away.

Learn. Volunteer. Share. Donate. These are our key tenets for our Faces of Loudoun community service campaign. Its what will End The Need in our backyard.