There are many benefits to having a hefty savings account, but we all know it can be hard to get there. In today’s consumerist society, the temptation to overspend lurks around every corner. New smartphones, fast fashion clothing stores that put out new items every week, expensive lattés and Postmates delivered dinners all seem to be more important in the moment, than throwing that hard-earned money into a savings account. Essentially, our wants disguise themselves as needs and the urge to buy buy buy takes over.
The journey to saving money may seem overwhelming but with just a few habitual adjustments, you’ll be there in no time. Check out these tips & tricks to grow that savings account and move towards days of greater financial freedom…
1. Make a Budget
It’s difficult to arrive at your destination, if you don’t know where you’re going. A budget is basically a map for your money saving journey. Get your spreadsheet on and create your own personal budget, based on each of the expenses that you HAVE to pay every month (think rent, bills and essential groceries). Include the income that you have coming in and compare your monthly income with your expenses. Do a little math and this will leave you with the amount of “extra” money that you earn every month, or your surplus. At first, it may be very little, but as you continue on your money saving journey, this number should grow.
2. Pay Down Debt
Debt is often a huge roadblock when it comes to saving money. Many people have to choose between the two, until debt is under control or paid off all together. A popular strategy for paying off debt is the snowball method, where you pay off your debts in order from largest to smallest.
3. Cook More Food at Home
Ordering meals for delivery/pick-up and dining out at restaurants should be a special occasion for someone who is trying to save money. The additional fees for a single meal (tip, tax, service fees, delivery fees, increased price on foods) will start to add up and dig into your budget. Strategically planning out your week’s worth of food and sticking to a grocery list will ultimately save you money. This may require you to do some meal prepping at the beginning of the week but your bank account will thank you.
4. Borrowing Over Buying
Need a fancy dress for ONE occasion? Need a power tool for ONE project? Need anything that would be a one time or temporary use in your life? Consider putting a post up on social media or calling around to friends, to see if you can borrow the item you need, instead of buying it brand new.
5. Thrift Shopping
Many of us know that if you buy a brand new car, the value depreciates as you drive it off the lot. That doesn’t make it any less useful though, right? This concept is true for most things. Consider thrift shopping and second hand when you need new clothes, furniture or many other things. It feels good to give something a second life, it’s more sustainable for the planet and it’s more friendly for your bank account.
Need something fixed around the house? Did you rip an item of clothing and need it sewed? Need your oil changed? Learning some basic skills to do things yourself, will save you money on using an outside hire. Sure, a handyman may be necessary for larger projects, but most people would be surprised what they can accomplish on their own, if only they took the time to learn and apply themselves.
7. Delegate A Monthly Max for Non-Essential Purchases
Having a set amount for non-essential purchases should help you to stay on budget for the rest of the month. Similar to those who have strict diets, with one cheat day per week. Looking forward to your non-essential purchases will keep you on track and help you cut down or eliminate impulse purchases. This is a strategy to help separate and control the wants verses needs.
8. Use Surplus Money Wisely
Many people who receive bonuses from work, tax return money or other types of surplus funds will often spend this money on non-essential purchases. They will get excited and plan an expensive vacation or go on a shopping spree. This money could be better spent by paying off debts or putting this money into savings. Even if you only save a portion of this money, it would be more advantageous than not saving any of it.
9. Save Money Automatically
A good method for saving money, that requires very little effort, is to set up your bank account for an automatic transfer of funds to your savings account each month. It can be just a small amount, even $25. Similarly, you can set up your direct deposit to send 10% of your paycheck to savings.
10. Cut Down Your Monthly Payments
When is the last time you checked how many subscriptions you’re paying for each month? How expensive is your cable bill and can you cancel cable all together and replace it with streaming services? Can you cut down the data on your cell phone bill? Would it be cheaper if you switched insurance providers? Sit down and analyze your monthly payments and look for ways that you can cut them down. It may seem tedious, but you are likely to shave off some money that can be moved to savings.
The ultimate strategy for developing money saving habits is to control your impulse purchasing and become a minimalist. Have a plan (budget) and follow the steps to achieve your savings goals. Once you start to see results, it will feel rewarding and encourage you to continue onwards. You may start to find even more ways to save money, along the way!!
From a young age, most of us are taught the importance of the “Thank You” note. For every birthday party ever…opening the gifts is the most exciting part of the day, right? Yet, we know Mom is probably writing down every person’s name and the gift that they contributed, so she can later hand us that information along with some blank cards. After which, we can procrastinate filling them out until our next birthday starts to come around the bend. Sound familiar?
Well, a donor acknowledgement letter is more than just a thank you but the sentiment is still there. Anytime your nonprofit organization receives a donation, it’s important to extend this gesture of gratitude. No matter how large or small the contribution, the thank you is of equal importance. However, with any donation larger than $250, the IRS requires your organization to provide a formal acknowledgement letter to the donor. These letters allow donors to provide proof of donation for their own tax purposes and must be mailed or emailed to them by January 31st of each year.
Just as Mom may have required that you not only say thank you in your note but also that you mention the exact gift they contributed to your awesome birthday party – the IRS requires that your donor acknowledgement letters include some specifics:
Names – Then name of the donor and the full, legal name of your organization.
Date – The date that the gift was received by your nonprofit. If one donor has made multiple contributions to your organization within the same tax year, you must provide donor acknowledgment letters for each donation separately. You cannot combine contributions.
Tax-Exempt Status and EIN – A statement declaring your organization’s 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, including your EIN (Employment Identification Number).
Amount or Description – A clear monetary amount or a description of a non-cash gift. For non-cash gifts, it is not necessary to assign a cash value, just include a description of what was donated.
Exchanges – If your organization exchanged any goods/services for the provided donation (such as an event ticket, a t-shirt, etc) you must note this in your letter, along with an estimate of the fair market value. If the donor did not receive anything in exchange for their donation, you should state that instead.
In addition to the acknowledgement of their donation to your organization, you can also use this opportunity to reengage these donors by outlining current and future goals. Individuals who have already contributed to your organization once, are likely to be interested in doing so again. You can use the second half of this letter as an outreach and distribution of information for any future fundraising missions or events. Re-iterate your mission statement as a nonprofit organization and lean into the opportunity of possibly sparking a continued system of support from your donors.
Fundraising is truly the lifeblood of nonprofit organizations, who are likely to receive the majority of their income from charitable donations. For as long as a nonprofit hopes to exist, fundraising must remain a perpetual priority. This can seem daunting, like a never-ending carrot hanging from a stick scenario. Yes, fundraising is a massive undertaking BUT it doesn’t have to be daunting. Like with many other things in life, having a well thought out and detailed game plan can set organizations up for lasting success.
At a loss with how to map out a fundraising plan of attack?
Let’s look at some crucial steps:
2. Clearly Define Fundraising Goals
3. Put Together An Execution Team
4. Identify Target Donors
5. Create A Campaign Plan
6. Thank Supporters
Everything seems just a little simpler when there is a trail of breadcrumbs to follow, yeah? Okay, get out there and do it! Kidding…let’s break these steps down a little more.
This step is hugely important for nonprofits who seek to raise money. Before campaigning or soliciting any donations from supporters, organizations much first register with the state government in which they’re operating. An organization must be registered in each individual state, where they plan to raise funds. Furthermore, if the organization hires an outside fundraising consultant, they too must register with the state.
Registration may be a step that doesn’t need to happen for every campaign, if the step was already completed. However, it should always be on the check list, just to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks and everything is up to code.
Clearly Define Fundraising Goals
Having an ultimate goal in mind will help to keep an execution team on track and focused on the end game. So, the first step in a well thought out game plan should be to clearly define a fundraising campaign goal (a goal number to reach). Even further, what is the organization’s overall fundraising goal for the next year? The next two years? Or even the next five years? The more information that is clearly outlined and recorded, the more numbers will be available for reference (which can be helpful in future fundraising goals – remember that each campaign may be separate, but they are all connected to the organization’s overall goals).
A clear goal number should also be intentionally tied in with the organization’s overall mission statement. This is because a fundraising goal should not only reflect a monetary number (how much money is needed to achieve the organization’s goal fundraising number) but should also reflect the intended use of this money (how the money will contribute to the organization’s overall mission). Most donors will choose to contribute to an organization based off of their mission statement, as donors like to know that their money is going towards a mission that they believe in.
Put Together An Execution Team
All fundraising campaigns should have their own special task force. Although campaigns can often be large enough that the entire team, and additional volunteers, will be needed on fundraising event days (for example), it is still important to appoint an execution team to manage the campaign in all of the surrounding days. Campaigns involve a lot of moving parts and it is best to have a leader or a small group of leaders, to keep track of important steps in the planning process and beyond.
The execution team should be taking charge on:
• Defining the fundraising goal number + how the money will be used to support the organization’s mission statement
• Promoting the fundraiser and ensuring the goals are expressed to target donors, in a way that relates goals back to the organization’s mission statement
• Brainstorming + executing methods of promotion for the fundraising campaign
• Planning + organizing fundraising-specific events
• Assigning staff + training and assigning volunteers for fundraising specific tasks/events
• Managing the funds received + ensuring they are used to support the overall mission
• Recording successes and failures of fundraising campaigns + keeping track of numbers, in order to compare to past and future fundraising campaigns
• Using recorded data to measure the fundraiser’s performance
• Looking for ways to continuously improve the fundraising process of the organization
If there is not an individual or group of individuals skilled enough to take lead on the execution team, organizations also have the option of an outside hire. A fundraising specialist (if within the budget or if the specialist is willing to donate time) can be brought in to help achieve goals.
Identify Target Donors
In order to most efficiently promote a fundraising campaign, it is important to clearly identify a target market. Are there specific demographics, neighborhoods, communities or groups of people that will be approached for contributions? Are there companies, organizations or individuals who have been large or frequent donors in the past, who should be included on the prospect list for this current campaign? Organizations may want to use staff, board members and volunteers to compile a full list of target donors.
This completed list will guide the promotional direction of the fundraising campaign. There are many different fundraising avenues for a successful campaign – direct mail, in-kind donations, sponsorships, crowdfunding, special events…just to name a few. No matter which method(s) planned to be used for an organization’s campaign, a prospect list of donors will define exactly who to target for funds. Honing in on this list can help all of an organization’s efforts to be channeled towards a target market of the most likely donors – keeping efforts from being “wasted” on less likely donors.
Create A Campaign Plan
A campaign plan should clearly outline the selected method(s) that an organization will use to raise money. There are a wide range of tactics that may be used during a fundraising campaign. For best results, it is recommended to incorporate a variety of approaches, in order to reach a larger population. The possible methods include:
• Direct Mail – An old faithful! This tactic dates back to the pre-internet days of fundraising (obviously) but it still stands as a cost-effective, low-labor and worthy method of spreading an organization’s word. Send out letters to your prospect list but make sure to include information about how recipients can donate online (rather than returning the snail mail).
• Online – This includes donations that may be made through an organization’s website, through a crowdfunding site (ex: Go Fund Me) or through other platforms, such as social media. This method draws the most donations because it reaches the most people and provides a simple and accessible means for those people to contribute their donations. Even if they hear about the cause through word of mouth or through direct mail, they are still likely to hop onto the world wide web to make their donation. The internet also allows for monthly giving programs to be set up. Monthly giving programs raise money through recurring donations from those donors that support the cause with such great enthusiasm, that they are willing to contribute every month.
• Mobile Phones – Similar to direct mail but a little more current, organizations can send out a mass text message to their prospect list, with a link to donate. Calling possible donors to speak directly over the phone or leave a voice message about the cause is also an option, although much more time consuming. An organization may also create an app with donation collecting capabilities.
• Solicitation – Another method that has stood the test of time is an in-person approach. Solicitating to possible donors (within the target audience) is also a time-consuming option but can help to reach donors outside of the prospect list. Organizations should be strategic about location choice for this method. For example, if the organization is raising money for animal shelters (or any animal-related causes), it would be strategic to place a few volunteers outside of a pet food/supply store.
• Events – Holding fundraising events can help to boost donor giving, while also raising further awareness for an organization’s cause. Think silent auctions, marathons, charity dinners, craft shows and more. It is up to the organization to be creative with this option because there are many possible routes to take.
• Corporate Partnerships – There are many businesses who are interested in partnering with non-profits, in order to fulfil a philanthropic avenue for their company. Companies may choose to donate money, in-kind donations, encourage employees to donate time (volunteer) or they may be willing to sponsor or be otherwise involved in a fundraising event.
Once an execution team as decided on the methods that will be used for the fundraising campaign, the next step to completing the campaign plan is to decide how the campaign will be promoted. Essentially, how will word get out to the people of the prospect list and (hopefully) beyond. How will the campaign be marketed to ensure best results? Many of the same platforms used for raising the actual funds, can and should be utilized to market the campaign.
Last, but definitely not least, is to send out a huge thank you to all of the generous donors who chose to support the cause. This step is not only required by the IRS, as donors will need to receive information for their tax-deductible contribution, but it is also a wonderful way to keep in contact with supporters, further strengthening those relationships. Fostering these relationships can alleviate efforts in future fundraising campaigns and can help to secure recurring donations. Donors are the lifeblood of nonprofit organizations and should be treated as such.
A code of ethics is an important aspect for all businesses to integrate into their system of operations, but it is especially important for nonprofit organizations. As nonprofits are so strongly supported by charitable contributions, exposing themselves to the risk that fraud (and other internal unethical practices) can bring about, could have detrimental consequences. The last thing that a nonprofit needs is to be featured in news coverage because an executive was siphoning funds, in order to take an extra vacation or drive a fancy sports car. Donors can be off put by such findings, so much so that they withhold further contributions.
Usually, wrongdoing doesn’t start with a full display of breaking the rules. More often than not, it starts with bending them. So how can organizations take precautions in order to prevent such wrongdoing? Implementing a strong code of ethics can help to reduce the likelihood of internal unethical practices. A code of ethics should clearly state an organization’s core values and will help implement a system of accountability for staff, board members and volunteers.
Let’s think of it like this – if you are walking down the street and holding a piece of trash in your hand, but there are no trash cans nearby, does the thought cross your mind to litter? It could be that easy, just drop it and walk away. Who would know? Who would care? Okay now…think about this same scenario, except this time there are numerous signs in your path, all exclaiming the unethical nature of littering. These signs are clear and apparent and basically, they’re all up in your face. Does that thought about the convenience of littering still have that same temptation? Or is it lessoned? Maybe, the signs also tell you the location of the nearest trash can. The littering signs (and the guidance to a trash can) act as a system of accountability, which encourages patrons to do the right thing, while also letting them know that someone does in fact care.
Inspiration for writing a code of ethics can be drawn from those of other likeminded organizations. It can be as long or as short as necessary to translate values, as well as how they relate to and support a nonprofit’s mission.
Once a code of ethics has been established for an organization, it is important to share this code with staff, board members, volunteers, donors and to the entire community. These values can be shared on an organization’s website, incorporated into employee handbooks and pasted across other types of materials, including marketing materials. Maybe it’s even included at the bottom of every email signature from within the company. It stands as a constant reminder for the standards that an organization holds itself too.
Although a code of ethics is not a fool proof system to prevent fraud or unethical practices, it certainly asks as a system of risk management. A code of ethics, coupled with a constant embodiment and display of this code, can help to create an environment where good choices are celebrated. When fraudulent behavior is being called out, the temptation to move forward with unethical decisions is lessoned because there is an obvious display of internal monitoring. This not only helps to attract the right type of people to work for an organization, but it also gives donors a deepened sense of security and trust for the organization itself. A strong code of ethics, overall, shows ongoing commitment to an organization’s core values.
Earth day is a wonderful celebration of mother nature herself. A day that inspires interest in tree planting and hiking and conservation efforts. A day that lends itself so well to being outdoors. Unfortunately, like many other celebrations around the world, Earth Day 2020 has landed in midst of a social distancing period. Volunteering to plant trees with an organization, heading out to (possibly) crowded hiking trails or even heading out to have a day at the beach, can all be challenging or even impossible acts during this period of quarantine. Don’t let this get you down! Definitely don’t let it keep you from celebrating mother nature, in all her glory. We have some tips and tricks for getting into the Earth Day spirit, from the safety of your own home!
Compost Your Food Scrapes
Do you throw your food scraps into the garbage can? Do you often feel wasteful about it? That’s okay, most of us do. BUT…you don’t have to! Composting food scraps is a wonderful way to save waste and repurpose, right from your kitchen.
You can purchase a composting bin for your back yard or patio. This is a great option for anyone who has a garden or even anyone who just has the space (maybe it will inspire you to plant a garden)! Composting on your own will require dirt and worms and insects and the extra effort to get your hands a little dirty. You will also need a small bin to keep in your kitchen, to hold your food scraps, before they get deposited into your compost bin in the yard.
Don’t have the space or time for a compost bin out in your yard? You can also keep a small compost bin in your kitchen, under the sink or in the freezer (contains the smell better). Once your bin is full, take it to a local community compost drop off. You can search for a drop off location that is close and convenient for you.
Welcome Creatures Into Your Yard
With the ever-increasing construction and expansion of manmade buildings and roads, animals and insects get pushed out of their homes and out of save environments. Some people shoo these creatures off of their property. Consider welcoming these friends into your yard, in order to give them a safe space to escape the crazy human roadways and populated city scape.
Do you have a birdhouse? No? Building a bird house and installing a bird feeder could be the perfect Earth Day project for you!
Do you keep a perfectly mowed lawn? Consider leaving a portion of your lawn un-mowed, for bees and butterflies and insects to thrive.
You can also go organic with your lawn and garden – Getting rid of pests the old-fashioned way can actually be more effective than using pesticides. Try planting native plants to control the insect population. Use water to spray common insects like aphids off of your vegetable plants.
When it comes to weeds, pulling them out by hand works better than any other method.
Plant A Garden
Don’t have a garden, yet? Starting a backyard garden can be the perfect way to celebrate Earth Day. Even starting with a few small plants is worth the effort. Use a lot of herbs when you cook? Planting your own herbs keeps them readily available and on hand, while also preventing you from purchasing plastic packaged herbs from the grocery store.
Go For a Neighborhood Walk
Although social distancing calls for (mostly) staying at home, going for a daily neighborhood walk is not only permitted, but encouraged! Just make sure you keep a 6ft distance from neighbors who may cross your path. On this particular day, try to be more present on your walk. Pay attention to the plant life in your neighborhood and focus on which types of plants or insects or birds catch your eye. Sometimes, appreciating the little things gets overlooked on a day to day basis. Earth Day reminds us that even a simple flower can bring us a moment of beauty.
Another great way to pay respect to mother nature on your walk is to pick up litter along the way. You can buy a litter picker on the internet and use compostable trash bags. Bring these tools on your walk and clean up your neighborhood. You can also use gloves, but a picker is recommended.
Increase Sustainability at Home
There are so many ways that we can reduce our waste and in turn, do mother nature a favor. Take a hard look at your household habits and evaluate some ways that you can reduce your waste. Here are a few ideas to start:
-Go paperless with your billing. So many statements are available via online accounts. Switch over and save tons of paper waste!
-Switch your household lightbulbs to LED and be more energy efficient.
-Invest in a water filtration system or a simple Britta filter for your home and stop supporting single use plastic water bottles.
-Make the swap to cloth rags instead of single use paper towels.
-Invest in reusable zip lock and food storage containers and then ditch disposable Ziplock baggies.
-Buy more glass and less plastic at the grocery store. Purchase cloth produce bags, in order to avoid plastic produce bags at the grocery store. Buy in the bulk section whenever possible (dried beans instead of canned beans, etc). Always bring your reusable tote bags to bag your groceries!
Breath Fresh Air and Smile
There are so many more ways to pay tribute to mother nature on Earth Day but we hope that a few of these options have inspired you. All in all, don’t let the quarantine discourage you from celebrating our Earth this April. Get out there and breath some fresh air, even if that’s just out in your front yard. Of course, don’t forget to smile!
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, most of us are facing a new challenge that we had very little time to prepare for. The challenge of working from home. Well, some of us are working from home and others are stuck at home, with not much (if any) work to do. Many have lost their jobs or are temporarily out of work, until social distancing guidelines ease up. Either way, staying isolated inside of your home, while also maintaining both productivity and mental health, can feel a little daunting. Many of us are scrambling to maintain some sense of “normalcy” is a completely abnormal situation.
For those of us who are seeking guidance, in order to conquer the work from home (or stay at home and stay sane) challenge, we have compiled a short survival guide of tips and tricks. These tips are designed to keep your head screwed on straight, keep you productive and lead you into creating a home environment where you can shine.
Create a daily routine and stick to it.
Nothing says maintaining control over your own life like a well thought out routine. Keep that alarm clock set. Brush your teeth and your hair (yes, every day). Brew a fresh pot of coffee and spend some time in the morning doing things for YOU. Do you like to read in the mornings? Listen to podcasts? Exercise? Walk the dog? Make sure that you are still incorporating your simple pleasures into your daily routine. You likely have more free time now, then you’ve had in the past. So, also seek to incorporate some new things into your routine. Maybe you’ve been wanting to pick up yoga. Seek out some online classes and through it into your daily mix. Whatever your routine looks like, keep it consistent.
This one seems trivial but trust us, it’s not. Even though you may not be headed to the office, moving through your daily hygiene routine and getting dressed in the morning sets the stage for a productive day. It also reduces the likelihood of self-pity, which is a big mental blocker. Sometimes, how you look is how you feel. Think about it…ever purchased a cute new athletic outfit and suddenly felt inspired to hit the gym? Self-confidence does wonders for mental health and even if you’re only going to be representing yourself via video conferencing (or not at all), just feeling better about yourself can help you stay motivated.
Keep your home tidy, clean and organized.
It can be difficult to focus on work (or anything) in a cluttered environment. Clutter can make you feel out of control, which just adds a layer onto the lack of control we are all feeling due to being stuck at home and ripped from our usual routines. Clear your clutter, clear your mind!
Designate a workspace.
Having a designated home office is a crucial step in maintaining productivity at home. This doesn’t need to be a full “office” but can even represent itself as a little corner, one desk or a portion of the dining room table. It should be clear of all distractions, tidy and should only be used for working purposes (if possible). This will help your brain to shift into work mode, once you’ve moved through your morning routine and you sit down to your home office space. This is the space where you focus and by designating this space, you help your brain to transition into and out of “work mode”. If you have to use the dining room table (which will obviously share as an eating space), take the time each morning to set up your workspace. Then, each evening, take the time to break it down. That way, your work isn’t staring you in the face during dinner or post-work relaxation time.
Designate working hours verses non-working hours.
Without a physical commute to the office or a change of environment to signal to your brain that you’re “on the clock”, mentally gearing up for a workday can be difficult. For this reason, it’s helpful to designate working hours for yourself and adhere to them, every day. It might make the most sense for you to continue working the same hours that you were before the at-home orders went into effect. This will keep you on the same schedule as co-workers (in case collaboration is part of your job) and it will also maintain a small some sense of normalcy.
Maintain social connections.
Although you can’t meet up with friends for a drink after work or hit up the movies for date night, that doesn’t mean your social life needs to be tossed out altogether. Fostering our social connections is more important now, than it has ever been. Phone calls or video chats with family and friends can be an uplifting moment in your day. The internet is full of opportunities to stay connected. Video conferencing experiences range from live streaming dance parties, to motivational speaking, to yoga classes. Add socializing into your daily routine and make it a priority to say connected during these times of physical isolation. Take it a step further, set a goal to make at least one person smile, every day.
Maintain an exercise routine.
With gyms and studios shut down, and many outdoor areas also closed for gathering or exercising, it can feel discouraging for your workout routine. Although it seems easier to just give in to the couch potato approach, it’s important to maintain a healthy balance while staying home. Without balance, returning to “normal” life after the social distancing orders have lifted will prove to be very difficult. Avoiding exercise puts further strain on your mental health, while getting your body to move just a little bit every day, helps to release serotonin and keep your mind happier. Need inspiration? Check out the influx of at-home workout routines that have flooded the internet. There are also a new abundance of free online classes.
Get daily sunshine or fresh air.
Never underestimate the power of some good old-fashioned Vitamin D. Being indoors 24/7 can take a toll on your mental health. Humans are meant to feel sunshine. Get outside and take a daily walk or sit in your backyard/patio to soak up some rays and breath some fresh air. This time can act as a much needed change or scenery and a little refresh, before heading back inside. Definitely adhere to social distancing guidelines during your outdoors time (keep a 6ft distance from others).
Pick up a new hobby or craft.
Have you always wanted to learn a new skill or make time to practice an old one? It’s easy to see the downsides of being stuck inside but what about the opportunity that lies within the extra time that is now at your disposal? You can learn to make bread. Pick up cross stitching. Learn a new language. Start painting. Make your own kombucha. The options are vast, and the feeling of accomplishment will be sure to lift your spirits.
Cook healthy meals.
Does the hustle and bustle of “normal” life often end up leaving you too tired to cook dinner? Did you previously eat a lot of take out? Stay at home orders are also a great opportunity to practice nourishing yourself with home cooked meals. Improve your cooking skills or simply use cooking as a stress reliever (for those of us who already love it). Either way, there is only positive outcomes to cooking healthy meals for yourself and your housemates.
Set goals. Accomplish them.
This could overlap with new hobbies, or it can be goals that involve tasks that are less “fun” but have still been nagging you to complete. For instance, is your garage or storage unit a mess? Have you been searching for the extra time to get it organized? Set a goal to accomplish this before social distancing ends. Maybe you’ve been trying to read more books. Set a goal to read for 20 minutes every day. Have some minor home repairs that you’ve been putting off? Now’s the time. Setting goals and accomplishing them will do wonders for your mental state.
There you have it.
This certainly doesn’t cover ever survival tip, but it will get you moving in the right direction. Hopefully this guide inspires you to take control of your life, even when it feels like that isn’t possible. You control how you spend your time and you control your own outlook. Stay positive, keep moving and you will survive the work from home (by that we mean do everything from home) order.
In today’s day and age, it can be daunting to shield our families, more specifically our children, from the perpetual news cycle of twisted politics, environmental disasters, climate change and overall dreadful occurrences. More and more children are growing up with an awareness of the world’s current state and gaining an interest in how they can help. Adolescents like Greta Thunberg, a 17 year old activist for climate change, have sparked a movement of increasing involvement from our youth.
Taking part in the “solutions” of our worldly issues can empower our children and our families, softening the intensity of the never-ending news cycles. We are never too young to learn the value in volunteering. Plus…what could be a better family activity than one that helps to make the world an improved place? Here are a few ideas to get your family started:
What is your family interested in?
Look for volunteer opportunities that align with your family’s current interests. Choosing an activity that is engaging for your group is a good strategy to achieve long term sustainability for participation. Passion is power!
- Are you a tribe of beach bums? Do you often hit up the coastline to surf, boogie board or make sand castles? If so, why not try volunteering for a beach clean up? Trash that has been littered on the beaches is not only bad for the animals but it also negatively impacts the experience of beach-goers.
-Does your family love animals? Contact local animal shelters or rescues. Make sure to check with their minimum age requirements for working with animals directly. Even if your child doesn’t meet the age requirement just yet, there may be other opportunities for younger kids to help out, such as with fundraising and/or events.
-Are you outdoorsy people? Great! Then there are a variety of options for you to get out and do some good. Families that plant trees together stay together (okay this isn’t scientifically proven but come on). Look for a local charity that has tree planting events. You can also look for a local charity walk or a fun run that raises money for to benefit a cause that’s meaningful to your family. Didn’t have any interest in cleaning up the beaches? There are also litter picking opportunities inland! Look for local litter picking events that you can do together. Can’t find an event that works within your family’s busy schedule? You can also purchase some litter pickers and trash bags, take a family walk and teach our kids the value of cleaning up their own neighborhood and the surrounding areas.
-Does your family love to be social and meet new people? Look for local nursing homes, where you and your children can spend time visiting, talking and playing games with the residents.
These are just a few suggestions, merely scratching the surface of possibilities for you and your family to volunteer together. It is important to spend time together as a family unit, so why not use that time to instill good morals and values and to improve the world around us?
As you may know, at the end of 2019, we lost our beloved leader, Joe Harrington. Two separate events were held in honor of his legacy to the firm and to the nonprofit community as a whole. As we have offices in both northern and southern California, we wanted to ensure that both communities were able to show their respects. We are thankful to all of our clients, former employees and current employees who were able to attend these celebrations, as well as the members of Joe's family who were able to be present.
We were uplifted by all of the stories and memories shared at these events. Among the stories, were highlights of Joe's generosity. We were reminded how much Joe enjoyed sharing meals and drinks with those who were close to him, both professionally and personally. We were reminded of the kindness that Joe radiated on a daily basis and how much he treated everyone as equals. We were reminded that he had one of two styles of attire - a full suit or athletic wear, nothing in between.
Joe will forever remain in our hearts and in the true spirit of Harrington Group.
Here are a few moments from the Pasadena honoring at Shakespeare Club.
As you know, we lost our founder, Joe Harrington, at the end of last year. We are so grateful for all the kind words and wishes and stories that have been shared with us since then, he is gone but truly never forgotten.
These are just a few of the beautiful moments captured at our Oakland event. We will share some from the Pasadena event in the near future.
For many people and businesses filing your taxes is a lot like going to the DMV - a totally necessary and horribly daunting task. Even when you have a professional firm doing it for you, the prep alone can feel so overwhelming that it’s tempting to put it off for as long as possible.
We’re here to try to convince you to saddle up and get it done! Here’s why:
- It will be SO MUCH less stressful if you start now and give yourself plenty of time to prepare. The less grief you can cause yourself the better.
- You want to have plenty of time to address anything that might require a little extra prep or help or communication, rather than scrambling at the last minute.
- If you are getting a refund then you will get it sooner!
- If you will be owing money then you can prepare for that bill with more time to spare.
- Without the last minute rush you are far less inclined to make mistakes or forget something!
- Simply put: starting early means you will not be late! However, if you need, don’t forget that you can file for a tax extension.