5 tips on family volunteering this holiday

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Setting a family plan to serve others this season

I love the spirit of the holiday season. For our family, the holidays provide an opportunity to gather with friends and family, travel, and—most importantly—serve others. The holidays are also a great time to identify the causes your family cares about most and get involved both locally and abroad in the new year. Teaching our kids to serve others with a giving heart and exposing them to challenges we face both in our local community and around the world is the single biggest gift we can give them as parents.

Here are five tips for creating a family giving strategy this holiday season:

1. Schedule a family “giving back” meeting. Have each family member contribute 2–3 ideas, organizations, or causes they would like to support. You can empower younger children by doing the research with them. Come up with a short list of causes the family is excited to support during the holidays and into the new year. For example, see if your family is interested in volunteering at a homeless shelter, serving at church, or helping coordinate a holiday toy drive. One great conversation starter resource is VolunteerMatch.org, a website that matches your interests to relevant causes.

 2. Create a “family giving mission statement.” What is your family’s mission for giving? What organizations align with your mission statement and what causes do you care about most? Health? Education? Poverty? Post the mission statement on your fridge, or another prominent place in your home to keep giving top-of-mind.

Viewfinder Tip: Giving is better together. Consider serving with another family to maximize the fun and impact!

3. Create giving back goals. How much time in the family calendar will you dedicate to serving the family’s giving mission? What areas will each family member contribute? Assign weekly goals and schedule regular meetings to track progress.

4. Set an annual giving budget. Set a budget for how much time and financial resources you will dedicate to your family’s giving mission. If financial resources are tight, how can your time and community be used to get friends and family involved for a greater financial impact?

5. Get to work and test your plan. Seeing your kids work hard to serve a hot meal to homeless youth or deliver presents to the underprivileged for the holidays can be a life-changing moment for you and your family. Seek out opportunities to put your plan into action and strengthen your bond as a family.

The hardest part of the giving journey is getting started. Teaching our kids how to serve others with a giving heart and exposing them to challenges we face both in our local community and around the world is the single biggest gift we can give them as parents.

How does your family give back during the holidays? 

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Hip Travel Mama

Anne Taylor Hartzell, a.k.a. Hip Travel Mama, ended her time as an Expedia Viewfinder blogger at the close of 2015. Anne is a nationally recognized family travel expert, inspiring families to share travel experiences and explore the world
 together. Hip Travel Mama is a frequent broadcast media expert, has appeared on the TODAY Show, USA Today, CNN.com, Conde’ Nast Traveler, and more than 30 broadcast TV outlets across the country. With more than 16 years experience as a brand ambassador for companies such as Expedia, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Disney, Kimpton Hotels, Bing, Farecast, and others, Hip Travel Mama helps brands inspire and engage influential travelers via broadcast media, social media and the blogosphere. Her blog, HipTravelMama.com, provides inspiration, travel tips, hotel and destination reviews for families. Connect with Anne on Twitter @HipTravelMama

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