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25 Easy Ways to Give Back at the Holidays

Use your talents to bring seasonal cheer to those who need it most

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25 Easy Ways to Give Back at the Holidays

There are many things you can do to give back to the community around you this holiday season, and a little cheer goes a very long way!

Image courtesy of UK in Italy (Flickr, Creative Commons)
Updated December 03, 2012

It’s that wonderful time of year, of crisp evenings and candlelight, of Christmas-tree smells and eggnog coffees, and when the stars seem to sparkle just a little bit brighter in the cold. Audiences fill the halls for your latest holiday productions, and all is right with the world.

But while the holidays can be a joyous and satisfying time for performers, they’re also a perfect opportunity for you to get back out into the community of which you’re such an integral part. That same community that comes to your shows can also be assisted through giving back in small ways and large – now, and throughout the year.

It’s the right thing to do – not just because it’s kind, supportive and soul-satisfying – but also because it helps to equalize the balance. As a performing arts group, you’re often necessarily in fundraising mode. But just as crucial is the aspect in which you take part in the community or neighborhood around you, and give back. And best of all, you’ll increase community awareness of your group, while giving visible reminders to local business and media that you're here to do your part (don’t forget to write up a press release about your efforts).

To kick-start your efforts, I’ve put together a list of twenty-five potential “giving back” activities for you this holiday season. Some require little money or preparation, while others require a little more effort, yet may yield wonderful responses from audiences and community members that make it all worthwhile.

General Charity Activities for Performing Arts Groups:

  • Offer to perform at the local tree lighting with your neighborhood, city, town, or borough
  • Use your in-house talent to stage a charity Christmas Ball with a reception, raffle and prizes
  • Offer a special performance night or two that combats a specific illness or condition in the memory of a patron, performer or cast member
  • Decorate a hospital ward, children's ward, or Assisted Living, Nursing Community, or Geriatric Unit with garlands, snowflakes, and holiday cheer. (Use tape and ribbon loops to hang items, not hooks, and non-glass ornaments, so everything is safe even if grabbed later on)
  • Auction off a few tickets from a certain number of holiday performances to go to the charity of your choice
  • Stage a Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa charity concert or dance performance benefitting a worthy local organization
  • Hold invitation-only performances honoring special groups or organizations, from children, to veterans, or other worthy recipients
  • Send performers out for special charity performance appearances at worthy locations like local libraries, community centers, or hospitals, with the addition of raffles or ticket sales benefiting the location recipient
  • Hold a car wash benefiting a local charity or school
  • March with local groups celebrating diversity, equality, or other worthy causes
  • Donate a Christmas tree to a local charity then show up and decorate it as well!
  • With help from your organization’s designers or artists, bring the supplies for making holiday cards, ornaments, and holiday decor, and set up a hospital, group home, or children's ward visit where group members pair off with a child or elderly patient to create a pretty and charming ornament, snowflake or holiday card
  • Or use your designers’ special skills to create ornaments shaped like dogs and cats, then get your group members to help decorate them, then sell them off in support of your local animal shelter.
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