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Can You Dig It

Give back without spending a dime

Many small businesses and other volunteers donated their time for a project in Shillington last year for the Restoring Hope Foundation. People joined forces to complete a total home remodel in one week for a struggling family.
Many small businesses and other volunteers donated their time for a project in Shillington last year for the Restoring Hope Foundation. People joined forces to complete a total home remodel in one week for a struggling family. - (Photo / )

The importance of giving back is often overlooked, particularly when it comes to donating supplies and volunteering time, as opposed to writing a check.
The former often can have more positive and lasting effects than the latter.

For one thing, it’s more personal.

Whether you are a business or a nonprofit, giving back is essential to creating a culture of compassion and gratitude while generating good feelings in your organization.

One of the biggest events that Bethlehem YWCA, a nonprofit in Hanover Township, Northampton County, hosts each spring at the State Theatre in Easton is Prom Dress Day, a two-day event when girls can pick out dresses donated to the Bethlehem YWCA.

“We have companies volunteer their employees and they still get paid,” said Stephanie Hnatiw, executive director of Bethlehem YWCA. “We need lots of volunteers.”

Two employees from United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley also donated their time to help out for the event, she said.

“We also have committees that we need people with special skills; we have several special events we hold,” Hnatiw said.

Bethlehem YWCA also has a golf program for girls at Saucon Valley Country Club where women golfers volunteer to serve as mentors to play in a tournament.

The nonprofit’s TechGYRLS, an afterschool YMCA program for elementary and middle school girls, also seeks women in the science, technology, engineering and math industry to present the work they do in their field. The program serves 80 children.

Hnatiw said her organization seeks furniture donations and office supplies, which small businesses can donate when they refurbish or renovate their offices.

Other ways that small businesses can give back is to offer space in their conference rooms, or, if it’s a hotel, to offer event space.

“I’ve even asked hotels if they would give us free accommodations for speakers coming from out of town,” Hnatiw said. “Some hotels have given us free accommodations.”

The ways to give back are endless. So why not do it now?

See our cover story in the May 1 issue for more ideas and tips.

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