Three Ways to be Philanthropic this Holiday Season

Written by MaryPat Peeples on November 18, 2019

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The end of the year brings opportunity to review your investments, set financial goals for the new year and strategically consider your family’s fiscal future.

December is an opportune time to consider your portfolio and financial plans, analyze your past and set goals for your future, but the holiday season also brings opportunity to reflect on what’s most important to your family—the maxims you live by, the values your profess and the principles you hope to impart for generations to come. It’s truly a time to reevaluate and reinforce what matters most.

We see that, for many investors and their families, this time of year presents an opportunity to reflect on their beliefs and values, which often include philanthropic service. For many individuals and families that we work with, this leads to discussions of how they can incorporate philanthropy and volunteerism into their activities.

Especially at this time of the year, our team at Warren Averett Asset Management spends time intentionally reflecting on the past months, preparing for the holidays and the New Year and considering how we can be philanthropic, but we also work with our clients to help them consider how they can do the same.

The essence of philanthropy is the desire to promote the welfare of others, and there are many different ways that you and your family can pursue this ideal. Here are a few ways to fulfill the idea of philanthropy that we often recommend to our clients who are looking for ways to give back:

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Volunteering your time is one of the greatest ways to experience the impact of philanthropic service, and it allows you to take a hands-on approach to giving back.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to serve and support your community, consider contacting an organization in your area that is already doing work that aligns with what’s important to your family. See what the organization’s needs are, and ask how you would be able to help meet them by offering your service.

Partnering with local nonprofits or community organizations can not only provide you and your family with the opportunity to give back this holiday season—it can further support and advance the work that is already being done within your community, creating a synchronized and more powerful effort for a cause.

Load up your family or friends and spend some time serving at a local soup kitchen or delivering food with Meals on Wheels. Retirement communities are always looking for visitors, and the elderly individuals in these communities often enjoy spending time reading, telling stories or playing cards with volunteers.

Volunteering your time is a wonderful way to promote the welfare of others while building relationships within your community, and it allows individuals to experience their own volunteer impact first-hand.


Volunteering your ideas allows you to consider how your unique abilities and knowledge can be used to help others, and a small amount of volunteering of ideas can last for years to come. When you give ideas and knowledge, you’re providing a resource that can be multiplied in a different way than nearly any other form of philanthropy.

Consider what your talents, areas of expertise or specialties are, and think through what it might look like if you used those as part of your philanthropic service. And don’t limit yourself to only your professional skills or talents.

Volunteering ideas may look like offering pro bono legal advice on a specific issue, or it may look like providing unique guest blogs for a nonprofit about an important community topic. It may be brainstorming with community leaders, or it may be helping a nonprofit coordinate its fundraising efforts.

It might look like joining a board of directors or a junior board for an organization in your community that is doing work you feel passionately about, like an animal shelter, an organization serving individuals with special needs or a children’s hospital.

Volunteering ideas is inherently relational because it requires communication and a common goal. You create positive change by contributing your ideas to help make an organization or a community stronger for the long term.


While you may already have a charitable giving plan that you reference throughout the year, the holiday season provides even more unique opportunities to not only give back, but to include the rest of your family (including children) in the process as well.

Families typically can find ways to involve their children in volunteering time or ideas, but many have trouble figuring out the best way to involve them when it comes to volunteering and giving financially.

One way to encourage responsible monetary philanthropy is by modeling charitable giving that children can replicate with small amounts of money. Let them pick a cause they are passionate about and contribute their resources earned through chores, or gift them money for the purpose of being used for philanthropy.

Often after a contribution, nonprofits or other community organizations will put you and your children on their mailing list for updates and advancements in their mission, and sharing those communications with your children can help them to continue to see the impact of charitable giving throughout the new year.


Regardless of how you choose to volunteer throughout this holiday season, your philanthropic activity is sure to have an impact on your community, but it will also have an impact on you and your family. Here’s to promoting the welfare of others today and into the future!

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