‘Tis the season for giving! If you feel generous around the holidays, you’re certainly not alone. The end of the year is often a time for self-reflection, and many find it personally fulfilling to give back or share their good fortune with others.
If you live in or near St. Louis, here are some great ways to get involved in the St. Louis community this year.
Way #1: Give Through Your Company
A wonderful way to showcase your values and enable your employees to support theirs is by implementing a strategic giving strategy within your company.
Encourage your employees to volunteer this holiday season by enacting a company-wide paid day of giving. You could work with your leadership team to identify about five organizations and ask your employees to vote on which ones they’d like to volunteer for as a group.
Or, your team may appreciate having an additional paid day off that they can use to volunteer on their own time.
In addition to giving your time, consider making charitable donations as a company. If you run a small business, you might have one employee or team decide where to donate for the year.
Have them write about why they chose the charity and how the organization helps the community. Encourage your employees to share about the donation on social media, and send a message to your customers letting them know how they can get involved as well.
Corporate Volunteering Opportunities in St. Louis
There are plenty of team volunteering options for you and your employees to participate in. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
- Habitat for Humanity: Groups are welcome to volunteer at the ReStore any day of the week or assist with site builds on a limited basis.
- Trailnet: Help Trailnet advocate for safer street conditions for cyclists by volunteering with their community rides.
- St. Patrick Center: During the holidays, St. Patrick Center gives over 450 Christmas gifts to clients and their families. To accomplish this mission, they require several volunteers to assist with gift drop-off.
- Gateway Arch Park Foundation: The Gateway Arch Park Foundation offers many volunteer opportunities for groups of ranging physical capabilities and time restraints. From landscaping and groundskeeping to helping out at events, there are tons of ways you and your team can get involved.
Way #2: Volunteer as a Family for a Cause You All Care About
Donating your time as a family does wonders for building a greater connection and meaning with loved ones while doing good for the community. You may find it helpful to take some time and talk about what’s important to everyone. Maybe each year, you trade off who gets to choose where the family volunteers or make it a fun, light-hearted competition to determine the “winner.”
Once you have a charity in mind, set a family volunteer day. It could be the first Saturday in December, the day after winter break begins for school-age kids, etc., just as long as it’s one you can mark in your calendar annually. Building this habit of giving regularly helps inspire creative thought, intention, and family buy-in to the cause. After a while, your charitable giving efforts will turn into a beloved family tradition.
Family Volunteering Opportunities in St. Louis
If your family is interested in finding new places to volunteer, consider giving these organizations a try:
- LifeWise Stl: As part of AmeriCorps Seniors, LifeWise helps a wide range of community members through numerous civic engagement opportunities. Help sort donations, assist teachers with guided activities, garden, clean, and more. LifeWise offers one-time volunteer opportunities or ongoing engagements.
- Gateway Region YMCA: The local Y has an extensive array of volunteer opportunities for families to get involved with. Find well-suited activities for every family member, depending on their interests and skill sets.
- Mission: St. Louis: This organization always needs clothes sorters, outdoor community helpers, and academic mentors.
Way #3: Donate Your Time Regularly
While we often associate the holidays with giving back, volunteering doesn’t have to be limited to once a year. Year-round volunteering can instill purpose and meaning into your life while providing an important connection between you and the community.
Perhaps you’ll consider volunteering weekly, monthly, or quarterly for a meaningful cause, like making food at a soup kitchen, helping animals get adopted at the local shelter, sorting donations, or whatever else you’d enjoy doing. There are many ways you can give your time while making the community a better place.
Way #4: Make Smart Charitable Donations
The top priority of charitable giving is the good it does for others. But it’s also important to donate your resources in a tax-friendly way. Work with your financial advisor and tax professional to discuss your charitable giving intentions and how they can fit into your greater financial plan.
A few ways you can give with a tax-minded approach include:
- Establishing a donor-advised fund (DAF). DAFs enable you to give assets, take an immediate deduction, and allow the assets to grow in value until you’re ready to give. They can be excellent vehicles for year-round charitable efforts.
- Bunching charitable donations into the same tax year to take advantage of itemizing.
- Gifting appreciated assets like stocks, real estate, bonds, etc., to sidestep the capital gains tax and increase the value of your gift.
- Making Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCD) from your IRA (if you’re over 70.5). QCDs can be excellent for retirees as they can donate all or a portion of their annual RMDs to charity without incurring tax consequences.
Looking to Give Charitably This Year?
Our team enjoys working with charitably minded business owners and families. As you consider how you’ll give your time and resources this holiday season, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
We can help you create a tax-friendly giving strategy that amplifies the value of your gift.
Craig Toberman is the Founder of Toberman Wealth – a fee-only, fiduciary financial advisor based in St. Louis. He assists families and businesses with strategic financial planning and long-term wealth management. He has over a decade of experience in financial services and has crafted custom financial plans for hundreds of families and businesses.
Craig received a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Agricultural and Consumer Economics from the University of Illinois and a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree in Finance from Saint Louis University. He is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder, and Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Craig is a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), Fee-Only Network, and XY Planning Network.
Craig lives in the greater St. Louis area with his wife, Ally and son, Hank.