As we begin to look for gifting opportunities with the Christmas shopping season, consumers are being asked to shop local in an effort to focus attention on our local merchants, thereby enhancing our community’s financial strength. But just as we should think locally when it comes to our purchases, so too, we should think locally when it comes to contributing to non-profit organizations.
But many of these local non-profits find it difficult to get the attention of their community as national fund-raising organizations flood the postal system, social media and the internet with donation requests. Most of these national fund-raising programs are highly refined, some might say slick, taking advantage of the fact that this is the time of year individuals, families and businesses consider a year-end gift.
These national campaigns are usually supported by an expanded national donor base and a large network of giving organizations. In addition to these benefits, most of the national fund-raising organizations have a very complex and highly technical fund-raising apparatus that maintains donor records that are used over and over again, concluding that if one request results in a cash or service donation, there is hope for multiple opportunities in the future.
While local charities lack the sophistication of national donor organizations, they instead have a closer relationship with their contributors, providing a more immediate and direct benefit for the donors as well as the recipients. It is this relationship that local donors should consider first before giving to national programs.
Carteret County is blessed with a very active non-profit community that offers contributors a wide variety of organizations to support, based on individual interests that provide an immediate benefit for the community and thus the donor.
There are charities that provide human support in the form of food, clothing and shelter with such organizations as Martha’s Mission, Hope Mission’s Soup Kitchen, Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity. Additionally, there are numerous intervention services for those with drug dependencies to include Hope Mission for men and The Miriam for women.
For those individuals who “fall between the cracks” for government assistance there are organizations such as the Broad Street Clinic, providing free medical services with the aid of local medical practitioners who donate their time. Additionally, there are churches providing housing for the homeless through Family Promise and assistance for expectant mothers through the Coastal Pregnancy Care Center.
The opportunities to contribute do not stop with individuals and families. There are a variety of services that benefit public and educational services, to include the county’s public school foundation, Carteret Community College, libraries and a variety of museums and cultural facilities such as the Friends of Fort Macon, the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center and the Beaufort Historical Association.
If the environment is a concern the Coastal Federation and the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores are open to receive contributions as are a variety of animal organizations for both wild and domestic animals.
For those with an interest in supporting wildlife the Outer Banks Wildlife Shelter, OWLS, is known for its army of volunteers who aid injured animals and the Foundation for Shackleford Horses has gone to great lengths to protect the area’s renowned banker ponies. For those contributors who are concerned about the care of domestic animals, again there are a variety of organizations such as the Humane Society, Pet Adoption and Welfare Society (PAWS), Island Cat Allies and Protectors of Homeless pets, to name a few.
And of course, giving to local churches is always a successful and meaningful way to make a major contribution to the community.
The non-profit charities noted in this editorial are only a small list of all the organizations that are working hard for our community. A more complete list with phone numbers is posted on our website at carolinacoastonline.com.
It has been said that “charity begins at home” and this Christmas we ask our readers and the community writ large to consider this as decisions are made about where contributions will be made. Poet Laurette Maya Angelou once said of charity, “When we give cheerfully, everyone is blessed,” which is definitely the case when we give locally.