It’s spooky season ya’ll, and boy has 2020 been chilling. As we live through this year together, you might have stopped to ask yourself if you’re doing enough for your community. If that’s the case A) know that you are a good person and B) valid question. Well, I’ve got great news for you. This post will discuss a few simple steps you can take to ensure you build your capacity to give, create a deeper impact, and probably have some fun along the way.
As I started writing this I asked myself, how can I make an article about increasing your impact better? Clearly, the answer was to ground this blog post in the greatest Halloween movie of our generation: Hocus Pocus. If you’re anything like me, the quotable movie is a standard go-to. If not, I’m sorry about whoever hurt you by keeping this incredible movie from you. Either way—let’s dive into some tricks to make sure you’re treating your city right. Each is followed with an action that you can take TODAY to begin increasing your impact.
“I suggest we form a calming circle.”-Mary
Before we get too far down that asphalt river (‘tis firm after all), take a beat for a little self-reflection You’re hyped to give to the Indianapolis community, but trying to figure out where to start can be daunting. Luckily, IndyHub has your back. indyhub.org/volunteer captures open opportunities in Indy into a searchable, easy-to-use website to help you find the role that’s right for you. Additionally, IndyHub and I developed a worksheet that can help you figure out what matters to you. Find it here. Pro-tip: revisit this worksheet before you go into interviews or attend networking events too. It’ll really help you answer the hard questions like your 5-year plan, what you can bring to a role, and grounds for choosing one opportunity over another.]
Now, it’s onto king size bars of impact that you really came here for:
- GET CREATIVE:
I put a spell on you, and now you’re mine – Winifred Sanderson
If you’re really ready to turn some heads, don’t hold back. You think the Sanderson sisters became literal legends (ie my life goal but no hard feelings, Sandersons) because they played by the rules? Aw heck nah. Spoilers: you don’t have to play by the rules either. Do you want to start a new organization? YOU CAN! Want to start a research project to uncover what you think is causing a loss of civility in politics? Oh man, you have the ability. How about starting a fundraiser or event where everyone dresses up in pajamas and canoes down the canal to benefit local waterways? That’s where we draw the line. Just kidding! Get in that boat your silly so and so. No one can keep you from finding new ways to create change, and organizations might be interested in your ideas. You’ll never know until you try. Who knows, your spell could keep people dancing at the town hall party all night.
Action: Write down your favorite hobbies and your favorite causes on strips of paper. Put all the hobbies in 1 pile and the organizations in another. Pull one from each and challenge yourself to come up with an idea you’d attend. Keep trying new combinations until you really like an idea; you’ll know if you start to feel excited about it. Then get to work.
- TRANSLATE YOUR SKILLS & INTERESTS
Bubble, bubble I’m in trouble” – the bus driver
Our boy, the bus driver, is in over his head when meeting 3 witches on his evening route. He’s trained to drive a 12-ton machine, not keep the town’s youth protected from a nefarious coven. Who hasn’t been there? Unlike this dude, you have control over where, how, and with which organization you give your time. When you hear people talk about donating time, talent, and treasure—this is the talent part. Volunteering isn’t all picking up trash or working at a soup kitchen (even though those are great opportunities). Rather, you can donate your specialized skills—even as an amateur. Lawyers can offer pro bono services, aspiring editors can help with a nonprofit’s blog or newsletter to get some practice, or a well-known neighbor can rally everyone to support a neighbor in need.
Action: Think about 3-5 things you’re really good at. They don’t need to be “normal” or “applicable.” Keep yourself from judging your answers, just be truthful. Use that as a starting place to google search : [that skill] + volunteering. To test this, I actually googled “taxidermy + volunteer” and found this woman pursued an interest in taxidermy by volunteering at a natural history museum. So, whatever your skills or interests—there’s a place for you. DON’T WAIT
Thackery Binx, what took thee so long? – Emily Binx
Organizations are waiting for you. Precious time and funds are spent recruiting volunteers of all skill levels, and those are funds that could go to serve a mission you really care about. If you wait 100 years to light the candle, neither you nor the places where you are primed to make an impact will benefit.
Action: Send an email to an organization that might need your help today. Like right now. This post will wait. Be sure to tell them about the skills you have to share that they could need.
This is terribly uncomfortable – Sarah Sanderson
This is a tough one and no one likes to do it unless you are the most extroverted extrovert to ever vert, extro. Creating real impact usually means making changes. When you start to dig into involvement, you’re going to make mistakes. Fearing these two things—changing and making mistakes—keeps some of us (myself included) from getting more involved, giving more, or speaking up louder. Regardless of your political views, Black Lives Matter is making a difference in our society and our city. Not only are they speaking up about what makes lots of folks uncomfortable but remember that their organizers are young and new to the game. Whatever your age, being new at something doesn’t mean you’ll be bad at it.
Action: Watch any or all of these TED Talks, especially those that give you that nervous feeling that the speaker is talking straight to you.
- On being wrong – Kathryn Schulz (about 18 min)
- Why you have to fail to have a great career [and I’d argue to make a great impact on your community by getting past what keeps you from getting started] (about 15 min)
- Try something new for 30 days (3 min)
Remember, IndyHub is here to help you find new, better, and more meaningful ways to create the world you want to live in. It’s not just a bunch of Hocus Pocus.
Happy Halloween, you beautiful future philanthropists you.
Megan Hillier-Geisler holds an MPA from the University of Utah and a BA in Folklore and Religious Studies from Indiana University (Bloomington). As second year PhD student at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy (IUPUI), her research interests include the intersection of folklore and philanthropy in modern communities, philanthropy in public administration, and sports philanthropy. She plans to study the use of personal narrative, legends, folk art and food ways in fundraising and untraditional forms of charitable expression. She was previously the Director of Innovation for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a very cool job that was made better by the ability to bring her dog (Murle) to work in the Salt Lake City headquarters. The coolest thing Megan has ever done is kayak in different places all over the world, including Kenai Fjords (Alaska), Costa Rica, Croatia, and most of the US’s coastal waters. Her most embarrassing professional moment was not believing an event attendee was a celebrity. But to be fair his mild fame was before her time, and she was unaware of the Osmond brother—no, not that one.
Insta – @mymyersbriggsisIDGAF
Twitter – @Philklore_Megan
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in learning more about the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI, visit philanthropy.iupui.edu. If you are seeking more information about enrolling in degree programs, contact Greg Rathnow at email@example.com.