To Give or Not To Give, That Is The Question

I have a problem.  It’s nothing new.  It’s been that way for a long, long time.  It definitely impacts my life daily.  At first glance, most would only see it as a definite positive.  But it does create some fallout as well.  And now, it appears that it may not entirely be my fault.  It may be, at least in part, due to my surroundings and what I have been exposed to.  You see, my problem is that I have a very hard time saying “No”.

And I’ll follow that with “But it’s not my fault!”  Or…… at least…… maybe not entirely my fault.

CNN just published an article on volunteering across the United States.  Being a proud South Dakotan, I wanted to know where we fell in that spectrum.  Surely our Midwestern niceness and strong work ethic have to at least give us honorable mention.  As it turns out, we rank 4th in the nation for the most volunteering by our citizens.

See?  I can’t help it.  It’s just the way we are around here.

The data is from 2015, but it seems to take a lot time to get information like this tabulated, combobulated, and disseminated. A few stats from the research:

  • Just over 35% of South Dakotans report that they volunteer their time.
  • Spread out among all South Dakotans, we have a per capita volunteer rate of 40.8 hours.
  • That’s 23.26 MILLION hours of service.
  • Time is money.  The cost of those hours if the volunteers were paid would total $630,000,000.  That’s right, that’s $630 MILLION!

Way to go South Dakota!

Now this is all fine and dandy.  So what’s the point to make here other than a self-congratulating post?

Well, here’s the deal.  A very large percentage of humans, being human, want to make a difference.  They want to touch someone’s life in a positive way and really have an impact.

woman with cashOne other statistic mentioned in the report was that just over 57% of South Dakotans donate $25 or more.  Being a grant-funded not-for profit, we at LSS certainly value your donation.  In fact, if you’d like, here’s the page to do so.

So what if you don’t have the cash to give?  As a part of the Center for Financial Resources, I get it.  Money gets tight.  Personally, and I think our organization would agree, I would rather have you cover your bills and keep a roof over your head before you do any donating – even to us.

That doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference in our community.  If you aren’t flush with cash, you do probably have something just about all of us have available.  Time.

I’ve got one page on the LSS website that talks about donating money.  I tried and then quickly gave up working on a list of ways to donate time with LSS.  This would be a very, very long blog.

To prime your pump, so to speak, here are ways South Dakotans reported volunteering:

  • Coaching/refereeing sports
  • Tutoring/teaching
  • Serving in a church
  • Collecting/serving food
  • Collecting/distributing clothing
  • Mentoring
  • General office services
  • Music performance
  • General labor

These are just categories from the above report.  Want more?

  • Read to children or senior citizensmom and daughter
  • Community cleanup projects
  • Advocacy
  • Drive a shuttle vehicle
  • Help with a fundraiser (facilitating others giving money)
  • Foster a child or animal
  • Donate blood

There are so, so many more ways to make a difference with out giving money.  But I’m pushing that limit of a long, long blog already.

In short, if you want to make a difference, perhaps the greatest resource is your time and energy.

If you have the money to give, then great.  Give with a cheerful heart.

If you would like to be able to make a difference with your money but need to make room in your budget first, the counselors at LSS Center for Financial Resources can help with that too.  While we often work with financial crisis situations, we can also work with you to establish and manage a budget that allows you to accomplish your priorities.  Like donating money if that’s what you want to be able to do.  Appointments can be in-person, over the phone, or by internet.  Just call us at 605-330-2700 or go online to schedule an appointment.


written by Breck Miller
images courtesy

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