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Five reasons why we should support local nonprofits

Less childcare for low-income families. Less preservation of local history. Less food for people in need. Less affordable entertainment. Less to offer tourists. Less help for people with barriers to employment. Less available housing for our neighbors living with homelessness. Less downtown activity. Less beautification. Less mentorship. Less art. Less literacy. Less feeding.

When I visualize an Abilene without a thriving nonprofit sector, the single word that comes to mind is less. Less of the good that makes our community great.

The list above provides a glimpse of the vast impact that nonprofit organizations have on our community, and there are also some immediate benefits to us as young professionals when we support these charitable causes.

While I could easily provide a litany of reasons we should all be engaged with local nonprofits, for the sake of brevity I’ll provide just five.

1. Be directly involved in community enhancement

Time is currency, and you and I have only so much of it. Outside of our jobs and personal lives, we could never have enough time or energy to enhance every facet of our community on our own.

This is what makes our nonprofits so vital. They’re working full-time to improve quality of life in Abilene.

Still, we all know the old adage that it takes two to boot-scoot (Or, is it tango?). The nonprofits can’t fulfill their missions without support from donors and volunteers.

And it doesn’t have to take much of our time or money to be part of the impact.

Whether it’s serving on a nonprofit board, spending a few hours a month volunteering, or contributing $20 a month to the causes we care about, we can make an immediate difference just by getting involved.

2. Enable improvements without the use of taxpayer dollars

Much of the work our nonprofits do is privately funded.

Local foundations and individual donors provide a big chunk of the capital required to enable charities to serve their constituents and make our community a better place to live.

The more you and I invest in local causes, the less need there is for bureaucratic intervention to fill the gaps, allowing our local government to use tax dollars on other priorities.

3. Diversify your resume

Didn’t get a degree in marketing or finance but want to learn some of those skills?

Serving on a nonprofit board or committee is an excellent way to both gain new experience and utilize your existing expertise to serve a charitable cause.

Nonprofits often rely on their board of directors to serve on committees that help with areas like fundraising, marketing, budget oversight and event organizing.