Everywhere you look there is need.  Giving is an important and integral part of personal and family budgets throughout the nation. As American’s, we are blessed wilynn-stevensth abundance, but with great abundance comes great responsibility. Over the past two years, our state and our local community have been faced by many weather crises.  Almost daily, thanks to my job at the United Way, I encounter many individuals still facing the long road ahead and still in recovery mode due to the flooding.

Almost always during times of crisis, we find heroes among us — volunteers and donors who go to extraordinary efforts to help those in need.  But with every crisis that happens in our state, country and the world, there is an unexpected consequence that occurs for many local charities.  They often become overlooked and the dollars seem to go elsewhere.

It’s easy to understand why this might happen.  Extensive media coverage easily commands our attention.  Whereas, local community needs rarely grace our TV screens.  It’s more sensational for media to carry stories of global disasters and tragedies than to talk about situations here in our backyard.

Almost daily, the United Way office receives calls from individuals in dire straits, crisis or are facing tragedy.  Today, I received a call at the office from a local family that lost everything in a house fire last night.  This is the exactly one type of local tragedy that happens every day, but rarely receives the media coverage necessary to elicit enough giving to meet the need.

Ultimately, you should give where you feel called to give and follow your heart.  If you feel inclined to work with the homeless population in your community, then do that.  Want to volunteer?  There is always a charity needing help.

Personally, I have always tried to give locally.  Giving locally makes sense because I know where and how my gifts are being spent.  I can see the progress of my gifts.  While I don’t want to project my burden for giving onto anyone else, my view is that a locally-focused giving strategy would greatly benefit individual communities.

Do you give? If so, do you give locally, nationally, internationally or during times of crisis? Or perhaps a combination?  What do you think of the idea of focusing on your local community first?  Can I help you find something local you are passionate about?

Originally published 11/1/16 in BIZ Magazine  http://www.bizmagsb.com/local-giving-matters/

Reproduced with permission.