The turn of the new year is a time to think about giving, and strengthening our communities through volunteering.
For many independent and freelance workers, it may be difficult to be philanthropic or even to think of how to do so. Working on your own, how can you find time, and what can you give?
Sensei Tyra Seldon says, “Giving back is not only doable, but quite enjoyable.” 
As she says, as a freelancer, “I no longer have the ease of showing up for an event on behalf of my employer or checking off a box for my HR representative.” This means she has to do more work to connect with and support organizations that she believes in.
She lists five good ideas for freelancers who want to give back their communities
- Volunteer with other freelancers
- “adopt” a local organization, to support through the year
- dedicate your birthday to a cause
- donate unused supplies
- volunteer at local schools
“I have found that pouring into my community and engaging in service has enhanced my life tremendously. In fact, it has made me a better freelancer, business owner, and most importantly, a better human being.”
I’ll add another suggestion.
Most communities and schools have programs that introduce school kids to possible careers and occupations. A key part of this “career fair” or whatever they call it, is opportunities for students to meet and talk to professionals, to discover and be inspired to think about their own future direction.
Clearly, it is important for kids to learn about freelancing, no?
So, I encourage freelancers to try to participate is these youth programs, to visit middle and high schools.
Tell kids what freelancing is all about, why it’s cool, and how to become one. Show kids how cool freelancers are.
For extra credit, think about ways to create summer work experiences (internships, part time jobs, etc.) for high school kids. This is an incredible opportunity for a kid to discover a future career that he or she never even knew existed, as well as get some critical early experience.
I know it’s hard for a solo part-time worker to host a kid for a few weeks in the summer. But perhaps it would be possible banding together with other freelancers to share the load. Thinking caps, people!
I bet it’s doable. I know it’ll make your community a better place, and you’ll really love it.
Don’t take my word for it, listen to Sensei Seldon.
- Tyra Seldon, 5 ways to be philanthropic as a freelancer, in Freelancers Union Blog. 2017. https://blog.freelancersunion.org/2017/12/21/5-ways-to-be-philanthropic-as-a-freelancer-2/